3 Nov 2017 18:33

Navalny fails to show up at some of his permitted rallies in Russian cities - Russian Interior Ministry

MOSCOW. Nov 3 (Interfax) - Several planned rallies in Russian cities with the participation of Alexei Navalny failed to take place because the opposition politician did not turn up at them, the Russian Interior Ministry said.

"We hereby report that in a number of Russian cities (Yakutsk, Kirov, Cheboksary, Petrozavodsk, Bryansk) planned public events with Navalny's participation had been permitted by local executive authorities but eventually did not take place due to the absence of Navalny himself," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Organizers either fail to provide notification of their refusal to conduct the events or do so at the last minute, the statement said.

"Whenever such events are held, police and National Guard officers have to take extra measures to provide law and order and public safety, which carries an additional burden on personnel and budget expenses," the statement said

During the holiday weekend, permitted public events are scheduled to take place in many Russian cities where police and National Guard will be maintaining public order and safety, the ministry said.

For his part, Leonid Volkov, head of the opposition politician's campaign headquarters, told Interfax that the organizers of permitted rallies were following the letter of the law.

"We act in strict accordance with the law. It makes no reservation as to when a notice of refusal should be given," Volkov said.

Rally applications were filed in many Russian cities, and often local authorities either ban them or offer a time and venue that are clearly unsuitable, he said.

"However, since we have major problems with getting [rallies] permitted, we are forced to keep such sites, too, to the last until we find better venues," Volkov said.