Submitted by: Richard.Lemmer
Russian Protests Set To Go Global:
A Russian protest group, known informally as the 31ers, are planning to stage global protests against the Russian government’s breaching of the national constitution. Started on July 31 2009, Strategy 31 is a civic movement which holds public protest meetings in Triumfalnaya Square, Moscow, on the 31st day of every month that has 31 days. This is a symbolic reference to article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which asserts the right to peaceful assembly.
January of this year saw more than 150 protesters arrested, including 82-year-old renowned human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva.
In July 2010, city officials helped organise a bike festival from 30 July to 1 august, in Triumfalnaya Square; in what many see as a deliberate move to foil the protests. Now, the government has announced the square is out of bounds to the protest group because an underground car park is being built beneath the square, which has been partially fenced off.
In retaliation, the 31ers are planning demonstrations to take place outside the Russian Embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens, London, and in New York, Helsinki, Berlin and Tel Aviv. Viktor Korb, secretary of the Omsk Civic Coalition, told Open Democracy:
"Observe the Constitution, the message from our Soviet past, has now become relevant. The possibilities afforded by this disaffection with life in a false imitation of democracy are potentially massive. Unfortunately, our civil society is still fragmented, but Stratergy-31 offers the possibility of uniting on the basis of a common idea.”