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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Opposition to Rally on Sunday

Opposition activists plan to rally Sunday in central Moscow to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya and demand free elections.

Organizers, led by former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, applied for permission from City Hall to allow 2,000 participants in the Dissenters' March, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday across the street from Pushkin Square, said Kasyanov's spokeswoman, Tatyana Razbash.

City Hall granted permission for 500 participants, and organizers will ensure demonstrators stay put rather than march, as City Hall stipulated, Razbash said. But they cannot guarantee that only 500 demonstrators will show up.

In addition to activists from Kasyanov's movement, the Russian People's Democratic Union, members of human rights organizations and opposition parties will attend, Razbash said.

Authorities have brutally cracked down on Dissenters' Marches and intimidated organizers across the country over the past year.

Pro-Kremlin youth groups commonly stage rallies at the same time and place as opposition demonstrations with the aim of disrupting them, and the occasion of President Vladimir Putin's birthday Sunday would seem ideal for such a tactic.

But no youth groups had applied to City Hall for permission to rally on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Central Administrative District said Thursday.

Meanwhile, activists from The Other Russia, a coalition of opposition groups that Kasyanov left earlier this year, appeared hesitant to attend.

"We are not in this together with Kasyanov," said Marina Litvinovich, a spokeswoman for Garry Kasparov, whose United Civil Front is part of the coalition

Other Russia leaders will meet Friday evening to decide whether to attend, Litvinovich said.

Another coalition leader, Eduard Limonov, founder of the banned National Bolshevik Party, said Thursday he was unsure whether he would attend.