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The Russian opposition movement is planning to hold rallies in Moscow
The Russian opposition movement is planning to hold rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg in early May prior to the inauguration of Dmitry Medvedev as president, an opposition figure said on Wednesday.

The inauguration of Dmitry Medvedev as president of Russia has been scheduled for May 7. Medvedev won by a landslide the country's March 2 presidential elections.

"The 'Marches of Dissent' will be held in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the inauguration period," Eduard Limonov, a writer and founder of the now-outlawed National Bolshevik Party, told a news conference in Moscow.

Former world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, the leader of the United Civil Front movement, who was also attending the conference, said that the Moscow rally had been scheduled for May 4.

He also read out an address to the Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov as an official application for holding the march in downtown Moscow.

Kasparov said recent festivities on St. Patrick's Day in the same area as the planned opposition march, "demonstrated the undisputable skills of law enforcement bodies to maintain public order without repressive measures towards the organizers of such events or the physical abuse of their participants."

Kasparov added that the opposition had yet to choose between May 5 and 6 for a 'March of Dissent' in St. Petersburg. "We are still to reach a compromise with local authorities."

The opposition coalition The Other Russia announced its intention last week to call a national meeting of various 'anti-Kremlin' public organizations, movements, parties and political activists in late April.

Kasparov, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, whom he accuses of turning Russia into a "police state," said the meeting's participants would aim to establish a common position on vital issues in Russia.

Opposition rallies were held in Moscow and St. Petersburg on March 3, protesting against the election of Kremlin-backed Medvedev in presidential polls on the previous day. Riot police broke up an unsanctioned rally in central Moscow, briefly arresting dozens of protesters.

The police handling of the rally was criticized in early March by a Russian government-appointed rights ombudsman as an "overreaction."

Opposition protestors called the March 2 polls undemocratic and "a farce," citing among other complaints the refusal of Russian electoral authorities to register a number of candidates, including the former Russian prime minister, Mikhail Kasyanov.

The opposition also complained of unequal access to the media and the use of administrative resources to back Medvedev, who received just over 70% of the vote.


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