Human rights activists on Friday lauded Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's veto on amendments to the federal law on rallies and meetings.
Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, on October 22 adopted changes to the law on protests and rallies which stipulated tighter sanctions against those who violate terms of public meetings set by the government. The changes prohibited those already undergoing proceedings for disorderly behavior from organizing protest rallies.
The president has addressed a letter to the chairmen of the both houses of the Federal Assembly of Russia - Boris Gryzlov and Sergei Mironov in which he said that the amendments involve positions that hamper the right of freedom of assembly which is enshrined in the Russian Constitution.
"I hail this Medvedev's step. It shows that we are pursuing the democratic model under which people live in Europe and the United States not only verbally... Actually, it [Medvedev's move] is very substantial," human rights advocate Lev Ponomaryov said.
The amends have set defiance to the "policy of openness which Medvedev tries to pursue," Ponomaryov added.
After the Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, adopted amendments, rights activists and politicians addressed Medvedev an open letter in which they asked him not to sign this document.
"We collected lots of signatures then... We had little hope, but I am glad we have achieved this," Ponomaryov said.
Head of Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alexeyeva also hailed the move. "The project [amendments to the law] was very inexplicit, it restricted the right to freedom of assembly," she said.
MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti)