Putin and Macron argue about pre-election rallies in Moscow
The presidents met in France on the eve of the G7 summit.
Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time commented on the mass rallies in Moscow held every Saturday in protest against the refusal to register independent candidates for the elections to the Moscow City Duma. The Russian president noted that citizens have the right to peaceful protests, but they should not lead to clashes with government officials.
“Citizens have the right to peaceful protests in accordance with applicable law. Authorities must ensure the exercise of these rights. But no one, neither the authorities, nor any groups of citizens have the right to violate the current law and bring the situation to absurdity or clashes with the authorities,” Putin said at a meeting with French president Emanuel Macron.
Putin noted that in 2014, “about 111 people” were not allowed to the election, and only 57 in 2019, and one of them has already obtained admission through a court. It was about a member of the Yabloko party, Sergey Mitrokhin. In addition, the Russian president said that the authorized protest rally on July 20 and August 10 “went peacefully and without any excesses.”
Putin emphasized that he would not like the situation with “yellow vests,” where “about 11 people died, 2.5 thousand were injured, including 2 thousand policemen” to repeat in Russia. Macron objected to this, that the “yellow vests” had the opportunity to represent their candidates in the elections of the European Parliament.
“France believes that every person has the right and should be able to freely express his opinion. Therefore, we need to distinguish between freedom of expression and public order issues,” Macron noted.
Presidents Putin and Macron met at the official summer residence of the French presidents, Fort Bregancon, on the eve of the G7 summit. In addition to the rallies, the heads of state discussed the war in Ukraine, global climate change, relations between Russia and the EU, and other international problems.
It is to be recalled that on July 20, at an authorized action, policemen broke Alexey Kutenkov’s hand. The latter was later accused of disobeying a police officer (part 1 of Article 19.3 ACRF). According to OVD-Info, at least six people were detained during the rally. On August 10, a policeman hit Daria Sosnovskaya in the stomach during her detention, although the girl did not resist. In total, 256 people were detained that day.
The protests of the “yellow vests” were accompanied by looting, arson of property – the protesters dismantled the paving stones and threw them at the police. The “riots” in Moscow were described to a court as a paper cup and a garbage bin, thrown into a crowd of police officers. Criminal cases were initiated against 13 protesters.