On Sunday, opposition activists managed to encircle the capital’s central Garden Ring road, linking their hands and so making a circular human chain. The action was held in supporst of fair elections in Russia.
According to Moscow police, the number of participants was about 11,000 people. As usual, the flash mob organizers insist on the bigger number, saying that 40,000 people took part in the action.
Participants managed to lock the human chain around the 15.4-kilometer (9.5 miles) Garden Ring road that encircles central Moscow. The chain was only broken along the road intersections so as not to block car traffic.
The protesters have taken to the streets to support fair, honest and transparent elections in Russia in anticipation of the presidential poll due on March 4. The organizers have said they chose this format of a protest action as it doesn't require permission from the Moscow City Hall.
Many of the people in the chain were wearing white ribbons - the main symbol of current protest campaings. Some were waving white scarves and holding white umbrellas and white ballons. Standing all along the Garden Ring road, they were greeted by horns of the passing cars.
Many oppostion leaders, such as Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Ryzhkov, Boris Nemtsov and politically conscious TV hosts Tatiana Lazareva and Ksenia Sobchak, were also in the human chain. Some other liberal politicians endorsed the action but didn't join it.
At some spots, pro-Putin’s youths were trying to join the line, holding cardboard red hearts saying “Putin loves everybody”. Some of them stood separately, forming parallel lines, distributing cardboard hearts and ribbons in Russian flag colours.
After the ring closed up some estimated 200 people of opposed activists went to join another event in central Moscow, at Revolution Square, where they tried to hold unsanctioned rally, dubbed “Seeing off political winter”. The action improvised Russian Maslenitsa holiday with some political and protest tones. People were dancing in a ring and chanting slogans. About 10 people were arrested by the police because of attempts to initiate a brawl with other activists from different parties.
Author: Julia Alieva