Police block activists’ march through Moscow
MOSCOW — Police prevented about 100 opposition activists from marching through Moscow yesterday with a giant Russian flag and detained three of their leaders, including prominent politician Boris Nemtsov.
The opposition activists were celebrating Flag Day, a holiday honoring the tricolor flag adopted by a newly democratic Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed.
Nemtsov said the decision to stop a march honoring the Russian flag showed the mentality of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s government.
“The flag is a symbol of freedom and democracy, only not for Putin,’’ Nemtsov said.
The date for the holiday was chosen to celebrate the defeat of a hard-line communist coup on Aug. 22, 1991.
Opposition activists won the support of some of Russia’s best-known rock musicians to play at a protest rally in central Moscow yesterday evening that drew about 3,000 people. The rally was part of a campaign to try to stop the destruction of a centuries-old oak forest that is soon to be cut down so a highway can be built from Moscow to St. Petersburg.