Nationalists Denied Permission to March

City Hall has denied a request by ultranationalists to hold an annual Nov. 4 march, but organizers pledged Tuesday to go ahead with the demonstration despite the ban.

The request by the Movement Against Illegal Immigration and the Slavic Union to hold a joint demonstration, dubbed the Russian March, was denied because the venues they sought had either been reserved by other groups or were unsuitable for such a demonstration, City Hall spokesman Leonid Krutakov said.

"There will be a lot of rallies in the city, and [Moscow's] capacity to host them will be filled to the brim," Krutakov said.

The march was to be held Tuesday on the occassion of the People's Unity Day holiday.

Naberezhnaya Tarasa Shevchenko in central Moscow, a traditional place for the Russian March, has been reserved for a similar nationalist rally by the People's Union, headed by Sergei Baburin, Krutakov said.

The Russian March typically attracts hundreds of mostly radical nationalists railing against immigrants and Jews.

Organizers denounced City Hall's refusal to grant them permission for the demonstration. "This is a political decision," said Alexander Belov, head of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration, or DPNI. "I see no common sense in it, as it will further radicalize society."

Slavic Union leader Dmitry Dyomushkin called the decision "illegal" and, together with Belov, vowed to hold the march anyway, beginning at noon near Arbatskaya metro station and proceeding to Red Square.

The theme for the march will be "Russia is a Russian Land," they said.

Alternately, demonstrators could walk silently to Red Square and lay flowers at the monument to Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who drove Polish invaders out of Moscow in 1612, Belov said.

People's Unity Day was created in 2005 by then-President Vladimir Putin to commemorate the liberation of Moscow by Pozharsky and Minin. The holiday replaced another national holiday, the anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, which had been celebrated on Nov. 7.

Last year's Russian March, which was sanctioned by city authorities, attracted hundred of demonstrators, most of them teenage boys and elderly people, many of whom were shouting racist slogans and flashing fascist salutes.

The demonstrators chanted things like: "Russia for Russians; Moscow for Muscovites, so get the [expletive] out of here!"; "Beat the Jews!" and "For faith, tsar and motherland!"

Others offerings included: "Let's free the police from the Jewish yoke"; "I'll crap myself for Russia," and "Anti-fascists suck."