The third car rally against abortion arranged to coincide with the International Children’s Day (June 1) took place in Moscow on May 29, 2011.
Unfortunately, when the pro-life motorcade was half-way of its planned route, it was stopped by the road police, and a plain-clothes police colonel, arrived at the scene, prohibited, in a rather rude way, the further movement of the rally.
It is the third time we have carried out this peaceful and absolutely inoffensive action.
Click here to read a short report about the last year’s rally.
One would think there’s nothing wrong with public support of the demographic policy declared by the Government and the President himself…
We have thoroughly followed all the formal procedures: the appropriate notifications as well as examples of our flags and car stickers were given in advance to the Moscow mayor’s office and GIBDD (State Road Safety Inspectorate). We also asked GIBDD for a police escort, but, of course, they didn’t give it to us.
We were supported by Russian Orthodox Church: some well-known Moscow priests, including archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin—the head of Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, have blessed our action.
The following story is about the reaction to pro-life activity in the dying-out Russia.
The route of our car rally was previously planned and ran around the central part of Moscow. To avoid causing traffic jams, the rally was specially scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
Our organized motorcade consisted of 36 cars. All the cars were technically sound. All the participants were in good spirits. Some of them were appointed to be responsible for traffic safety, some for communication on the move, some for video shooting, etc.
The slogans on our flags, balloons and car stickers were also rather appropriate: “Wait until the baby smiles,” “Save your child,” “STOP Abortion,” “Give life!”, “Abortions disgrace Russia,” “Abortions kill geniuses,“ Abortions kill geniuses,“etc.
“Abortion is a giving up of the future”
Besides Muscovites, there were people from some other Russian towns among the participants. One car driver was from distant Nigeria. Several families came to take part in the rally with their children.
“Abortions kill geniuses”
Thus, on that day, men, women, and children of various ages, nationalities, and social statuses met together for a single purpose—to drive across Moscow and to defend unborn babies’ lives.
The right to freedom of peaceful assembly as well as to freedom of opinion and expression is granted by the Constitution, if I am not mistaken.
Being only several hundred meters from the place of start, we felt warm support from Moscow drivers: they friendly honked their horns, smiled and gesticulated approvingly. It was obvious that again our action met approval of most people around.
All along our way we obeyed all rules of the road...
The “idyll,” however, did not last long. The fly in the ointment was those who should be the first to worry about our safety as well as law and order.
Being already halfway to its final destination, our motorcade was stopped by road policemen. They checked our documents and attributes and could find no legal reason to block the rally.
Furthermore, the policemen told us off the record that they have no objections to the rally and they even share our views, but there is an order “from above.”
With the person who issued that order we could get acquainted only after an hour of tiresome waiting under the hot May sun.
It was a high-ranked law-enforcement official—a police colonel, a deputy chief of police from the local police department. For a long time he tried to find any fault with us, and since he failed, he charged us with having no permission from the city authorities, then with carrying out an unauthorized rally, then with standing on the grass, etc.
His rudeness and cynicism perfectly supplemented each other. The road policemen and the colonel walked on the grass not less intensively, smoking and throwing cigarette stubs. And when our people stepped out from the grass they were charged with obstructing the sidewalk.
Though a moving motorcade cannot be considered as a meeting, the police official told us that since we got out of our cars we hold a meeting. He didn’t care about the fact that it was the request of police to stop and get out of the cars. He threatened to take all of us to a police station, if we leave the place in a organized way.
It was ironic that the official was plain-clothes and, despite all our legitimate demands, didn’t make himself known to us at once. However, after his “triumph” over one of our girls (he took a flag away from her), the police chief deigned to show us his identity card.
It is symbolic that the flag, heroically snatched from the hands of the girl, said: “Save your child!”
And the point is not that I and the rally’s co-organizer Alexei Komarovsky spent four hours in the police station without any legal reason, and even not how we were treated there.
The problem with our law-enforcement authorities is much deeper. It has much in common with the abortion problem: both of them are holdovers from the murderous Soviet system.
Nevertheless, our car rally, though interrupted, has taken place. Many thanks to all those who took part!
Unfortunately, a good deed is rarely free from temptation.
A day after (on May 31, 2011), I, with the rally’s co-organizer Alexei Komarovsky, was invited to the police station. In the room of the public security chief we accepted very polite apologies and were handed resolutions of termination of proceedings in the case on an administrative violation.
This means that all participants of the third, now legendary, car rally for protection of unborn children (against abortion) are completely acquitted. This also means that the police activity against the rally—blocking our motorcade, being rude to the rally’s participants, snatching flags from the hands, taking the organizers to the police station—was a malpractice.
Justice has been done. But not yet in full. I believe, the policemen so outrageously behaved to participants of a peaceful car rally in the heart of Moscow must issue an apology to all the participants and then resign.
I am starting to think about the fourth car rally. :)
To be continued…