Anti-government protesters have defied police efforts to drive them from the streets of the Russian capital, moving to a new place after their Occupy-style camp was uprooted by police.
Within hours of being evicted from a part in central Moscow on Wednesday morning, opposition activists set up camp at Kudrinskaya Square near the Barrikadnaya Metro station.
When about 1,500 people gathered there in the evening, police moved in again, confiscating a supply of bottled water and cash donations to the tune of 280,000 roubles (over $9,300) and arresting those campers who resisted the seizure. Protesters fought back, rocking the police van with the detainees, slashing its tire and ripping off a side mirror.
Police detained about 30 activists but let several dozen others stay at the camp overnight.
On Thursday, protesters received unexpected support from municipal deputies of the district that includes the Kudrinskaya Square. The deputies proposed giving the opposition camp the official status of a festival they called “Summer of Freedom”.
Meanwhile, authorities said residents of a nearby Stalin skyscraper were complaining about noise from the campers. The same tactic was used to evict the protesters from their previous camp when a court supported a lawsuit by local residents.
In a further tactic to scare the opposition the pro-Kremlin majority in the Russian Parliament has tabled a bill that would raise the fines for violating the rules of demonstrations from 2,000 roubles ($67) to 1 million rouble (more than $33,000).