Strasbourg, 07.05.2011 – The co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Russia by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Andreas Gross (Switzerland, SOC) and György Frunda (Romania, EPP/CD), have expressed their concern at the violence which followed the mass demonstration in Moscow on the eve of the presidential inauguration, and the detention of more than 250 participants.
“Freedom of speech and assembly are essential preconditions for democracy. Preventing people from enjoying these rights when they want to demonstrate their dissatisfaction is unjustified,” they said.
“In an open, democratic and pluralist society all opinions, including those critical of the authorities, should be freely expressed and taken into account. Imposing restrictions on freedoms of speech and assembly is not only unjustified, but it also constitutes a lost opportunity for society to listen to different opinions and learn from each other with a view to making common progress,” they added.