Russian police authorities on Saturday closed down an Internet website calling for participants to hit the streets throughout the nation in protests during the "Day of Wrath," Ekho Moskvy radio station reported.
Russian activists will hold rallies in some 50 Russian cities on Saturday's "Day of Wrath" despite the government and local authorities' efforts to minimize protests in the country.
Most protests have been organized by the Solidarnost (Solidarity) movement and the Russian car-owners federation which is also due to hold an all-Russia protest Saturday. Regional authorities have made all attempts to prevent and ban rallies.
Olga Kurnosova, a member of the Solidarnost movement, said the closing of the site (20marta.ru) was illegal and visitors on the site were purely discussing slogans to be used during the protests.
Police authorities considered the statements on the website as being extremist and closed the site down.
A number of opposition parties in Russia's Far East city of Vladivostok, along with the Communists and Solidarnost movement, have filed an application to hold a rally with the participation of 10,000 people to demand the resignation of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the Maritime Region's local government.
The application to hold the rally, however, was declined by the local government.
Moscow authorities have banned the "Day of Wrath" which the parliamentary opposition wanted to hold. However, representatives of non-government organizations will still hold rallies under slogans saying "Moscow without [Mayor Yury] Luzhkov, "Down with [Moscow Regional Governor Boris] Gromov!" and "Fire the government!"
The "Day of Wrath" has been annually held in Moscow on March 20 since 2008.
In January, Moscow police detained some 100 people, including the leader of the opposition movement The Other Russia, Eduard Limonov, former Russian deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov and head of the Memorial human rights group Oleg Orlov, after they gathered along with some 200 other protesters on Triumphalnaya Square in Moscow.
The protesters said they gathered to show that the authorities are violating the Russian Constitution, which grants the right to assemble peacefully.
In a similar crackdown on protesters on the Triumfalnaya Square just hours before the New Year, Moscow police arrested about 50 people, including the 82-year-old head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, prompting criticism from the United States and European human rights organizations.
In Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad protest organizers dropped their plans to hold a rally, saying they can not guarantee the participants' safety.
"A group of provocateurs was supposed to start a clash with the police and then the Special Police Forces would most likely have joined in," local leader of the Spravedlivost movement, Konstantin Doroshok, said on Friday.
However, some 10,000 people will instead take to the streets and splatter tangerines on the sidewalks and streets of the city of Kaliningrad.
On the same day, the local government has organized a four-hour live television broadcast with Kaliningrad Region's governor Georgy Boos on one of the local channels to draw the residents' attention away from the protests.
The Russian leadership has been reluctant to allow the opposition to hold full-scale anti-government protests, although a several-thousand-strong protest occurred in Kaliningrad in January.
MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti)