Russian anti-rally bill wants $50,000 fine on protesters

Indo Asian News Service

Moscow, May 11 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Russian parliament is expected to pass an anti-protest bill in 2013 that authorises a fine of $50,000 on protest organisers for the kind of anti-government rallies that has gripped Russia over the last six months.

The bill was submitted Friday to the State Duma by Alexander Sidyakin, an MP from the ruling United Russia party. The Duma will begin discussing the bill May 18.

"It is likely to be passed during Duma's spring session in 2013," said Alexander Neverov, a United Russia party official.

Sidyakin said the protests cause damage to the city, restrict residents' freedom of movement and impede people's leisure activities.

He had earlier proposed to increase fines for protesters from 2,000 rubles ($70) to 100,000 rubles ($3,300) and introduce community service for participants of mass rallies.

Dmitry Gudkov, MP from the opposition A Just Russia party, called on his colleagues to picket the Duma in protest against the bill.

Russia has faced waves of protests following the December parliamentary elections which were allegedly rigged in favour of the United Russia party. The rallies continued after the March 4 presidential elections that secured a landslide victory for Vladimir Putin.

--IANS/RIA Novosti