PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier expressed her deep concern at the arrest and detention of hundreds of people demonstrating yesterday in Moscow during an unauthorised rally in view of a forthcoming local election:
"I am deeply concerned about the massive arrests of demonstrators and the disproportionate reaction of the police when they tried to disperse them.
Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are essential conditions for democracy. In all Council of Europe member states and, in general, in any open, democratic and pluralist society, all opinions, including those critical of the authorities, should be freely expressed. »