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© RIA Novosti. Sergey Subbotin

Luzhniki could become Moscow’s Hyde Park

by at 16/02/2012 16:46

Moscow authorities were quick to act after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s comments on Tuesday that Moscow needs a place like Hyde Park for protests.

The capital’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, is already establishing a committee to decide on the best possible location, while others make suggestions.

Sobyanin is looking for Hyde Park for Putin

Sergei Sobyanin ordered that a special working group be formed to discuss the idea of creating Moscow’s version of Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner, a small area in Central London where anyone can come and stage a protest or present their political or philosophical ideas.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made such a suggestion on Tuesday.

“The issue of choosing a territory for creating a Hyde Park requires that the details be worked out in conjunction with public organisations, experts, and city residents,” Sobyanin’s spokeswoman told RIA Novosti. As a result, Sobyanin ordered that a working group be created to work out amendments to the laws on rallies.

The questions will be dealt with by Deputy Mayor Alexander Gorbenko, who is now in charge of sanctioning rallies in Moscow.

Luzhniki could be Moscow’s free speech hub

Head of Moscow’s culture department Sergei Kapkov insisted on consultations with parliamentary factions and “angry” citizens before deciding on a certain space.

“It is a good idea, a right idea, it has to be done. We need to talk to everyone. It is not only our decision. It could be Vorobyovy Gory, could be a part of Luzhniki. I hope that people will not protest there on a daily basis,” Kapkov said, adding that the place would have to have adequate security and electricity for the stage.

Luzhniki is planned to be the setting for 100,000-strong pro-Putin rally on Feb. 23.

Moscow City Hall must decide

The prime minister’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov thinks that creating Moscow’s Hyde Park is a prerogative of the city’s authorities who are responsible for safety at mass events, but they must consult Muscovites, RIA Novosti reported.

Former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov suggested creating a public space for protests in 2009, but the opposition was not impressed with the idea, arguing that it clashed with constitutional rights for freedom of assembly anywhere, and not in some corner where no one will notice the protest.

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