Several hundred opposition activists are camping out in the Chistye Prudy area of central Moscow, in an action organizers are now calling “Occupy Abai” after the 19th Century Kazak Poet and Philosopher Abai Kunanbayaev, whose bronze statue sits amid the encampment.
A cafeteria of sorts has been set up to feed activists, while impromptu sing-alongs and poetry readings are held to help keep upspirits.
Olga, a college student, says she feels more comfortable coming down to “Occupy Abai” than to the “May 6th” protest rally which was dubbed “the March of Millions”.
“And I can come to such things I can help with the meals, boiled water and something else. But I could not have enough, I don’t have enough power to go for such an event as March of Millions.”
Thus far, “Occupy Abai” has been, for the most part, left alone. However, President Vladimir Putin’s Press Secretary said Friday that the protestors were camping out illegally and police would definitely shut down the action sooner or later.
One of the opposition leaders, Ilya Yashin says the movement will not be intimidated.
“It’s like a psychological pressure, but they’ve already tried so many times to intimidate us with clubs or threats. It’s not possible to intimidate us. It’s not possible to disperse us.”
Several top opposition figures were among the hundreds of people arrested during and after the May 6th demonstration, including Left-Front Leader Sergei Udaltsov and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny. Both men were jailed for 15 days for disobeying police orders and remain in custody.
Another opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was arrested on May 6th and released after paying a fine.
The veteran liberal politician visited the “Occupy Abai” camp site, urging Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who will attend the Group of 8 Summit in the U.S next week to drop by.
“Nobody’s going to hit you. Nothing is going to happen to you.” Nemtsov said.
“People just want to ask you questions.”
Some protestors feel a different official visits. This sign asks the Moscow Mayor to protect city residents from the lawlessness of the riot police.