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Moscow authorities deny giving go ahead for opposition rally

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A Moscow administration spokesman denied Thursday city authorities have given permission for an opposition coalition to hold a political rally.
MOSCOW, November 15 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow administration spokesman denied Thursday city authorities have given permission for an opposition coalition to hold a political rally.

The March of Dissent opposition rally has been organized by The Other Russia movement, whose co-leader chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov said the public gathering would be held in Moscow November 24 and in St. Petersburg the following day.

"The Moscow government is exasperated with yet another attempt by Garry Kasparov to misinform journalists by saying that permission was given for the Moscow march to be held November 24," said Mikhail Solomentsev, the first deputy head of the mayor's press service.

The official said The Other Russia party made a late application to hold a public gathering on November 24, and because other organizations, including the Communists and pro-Kremlin youth movements, had also applied to hold rallies in Moscow, venues were already booked.

He said The Other Russia had rejected a proposal to hold their march along an alternative route and talks were underway to find another location, which the city government considered suitable only for public meeting and not a march.

Solomentsev said the event could not go ahead if The Other Russia rejected these alternatives.

"We are giving a warning, that if Kasparov and his supporters knowingly make another false report then it will lead to this," the official said.

The Other Russia plans to finish its march at the Central Election Commission building, where its members intend to hand in a petition demanding "free parliamentary and presidential elections."

The Other Russia movement includes the People's Patriotic Union, led by former premier Mikhail Kasyanov, the banned National Bolshevik Party, headed by Russian writer Eduard Limonov, as well as Kasparov's United Civil Front.

Human rights advocates in Russia and abroad have criticized the Kremlin for tightening its grip on democracy and human rights ever since Vladimir Putin became president in 2000. However, polls show that the majority of Russians support the country's leader, citing stability and economic growth in Russia under his leadership.

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