The Moscow city government has denied three opposition groups permission to hold a rally on Thursday, threatening to deal harshly with any attempts to hold it, the mayor's office said on Wednesday.
Eduard Limonov, the leader of the Another Russia opposition party, Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva, and Konstantin Kosyakin of the Leftist Front applied for permission to stage the rally at 6-7 p.m. on Triumfalnaya Square in central Moscow two weeks ago.
They declared an estimated turnout of 500.
However, the city government responded by saying a public event called "2010 Seconds before New Year" was scheduled to be held on the square at that time so the opposition rally could not go ahead.
Another Russia said the ban violated citizens' rights under Article 31 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which reads: "Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to gather peacefully, without weapons, and to hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets."
MOSCOW, December 30 (RIA Novosti)