Today’s massive protest walk has shocked the Kremlin. Dubbed as “Контрольная прогулка” (Control Walk), a group of popular Russian media personalities decided to test whether police would try to contain a large group of protesters just walking thru the centre of Moscow.
Late last week Russia’s old-new President Putin threatened to clear out the area known as “Clean Ponds” where a few hundred protesters had been camping peacefully overnight for almost a week. Those numbers would swell to several hundred during the day.
Then the government threatened to cut off all permits for such rallies (required). In response, a group of prominent artists, journalists, writers and actors joined the group for a “walk” thru Moscow which doesn’t require a permit. Thousands of citizens joined them as you can see.
This past week police used force to clear out a protest camp near Moscow’s China Town Metro station but the protesters moved to the Chistiye Prudy (“Clean Ponds”) area by the statue of Kazakh poet Abai Qunanbayuli. Although there is no connection to the “Occupy” movement, some have called the camp “OccupyAbai” or a “democracy preserve” of sorts.
With the respected Moscow Times writing today that Moscow now shares “similarities with Cairo,” somebody should be paying attention to the voices of the people.