MOSCOW, November 25 (RAPSI) – Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court will begin hearing on merits of a lawsuit filed by the Interior Ministry’s Moscow Main Directorate against organizers of unauthorized summer rallies, including opposition figures Alexey Navalny and Ilya Yashin, on December 4, RAPSI reports from the courtroom on Monday.

The plaintiff seeks to collect about 4.3 million rubles (about $70,000) from opposition figures. Police insist that the said funds were spent to enhance security during illegal rallies in central Moscow. Defendants along with Navalny and Yashin are Lyubov Sobol, Vladimir Milov, Georgy Alburov, Alexander Solovyev and Oleg Stepanov.

Other claims

In September, Moscow’s Koptevsky District Court ordered the organizers of unauthorized rallies to pay 1.2 million rubles ($18,600) to the Moscow public transport authority Mosgortrans.

Also, on October 1, the court ordered recovery of nearly 3.5 million rubles from the opposition politicians for trampling grassplots down.

Moreover, in early October, the Tushinsky District Court collected over 240,000 rubles ($3,700) from organizers of unauthorized rallies in central Moscow in favor of the restaurant Armenia. The court granted the claim in part. The plaintiff demanded to recover 551,847 rubles.

Protest actions began in Moscow in mid-July after election commissions denied registration of certain opposition members as candidates for the Moscow City Duma elections reasoning that documents submitted by them contained numerous violations.

The first unauthorized rally took place hear the Moscow City Election Commission’s building on July 14 and looked like a provocation, according to law experts.

Unauthorized rallies in support of candidates seeking to become lawmakers of the Moscow State Duma but refused registration by the Election Commission were also held on July 27 and August 3 in central Moscow. Over 1,000 people were arrested for various violations as a result.