Sir Graham Watson MEP, President and Astrid Thors MP, Vice-President of the ELDR Party jointly voiced the concern of European Liberals about the arrests of ELDR member party Yabloko’s activists and other civil society organisations protesting today against a further limitation of the right to assembly and to express your opinions freely.
This is particularly disappointing for European Liberals as this happens only one day after the EU-Russia Summit where President Vladimir Putin ironically informed the world that “everybody is walking freely now” who protested against the rules regulating mass protests.
“We do agree with European Council President Herman van Rompuy and Commission President José Manuel Barroso that we need to build closer relations with Russia, however, as a signatory to the Council of Europe, Russia must abide by European standards of democratic participation for its citizens if it wants to build a relationship based on shared values as much as on common interests.”
It is not acceptable to fine people for exercising the fundamental right of assembly on grounds of disrupting public order as also reported by Human Rights Watch.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Videos and photos of the detention are available on the Yabloko Party website: http://www.yabloko.ru/regnews/Moscow/2012/06/05