A year and a half after closing the square for construction that never took place, Moscow city authorities say they’re reopening Triumfalnaya Square for rallies and other public gatherings, Newsru.com reports.
Moscow Deputy Mayor Aleksandr Gorbenko, who has been heavily involved in negotiations with opposition leaders over an upcoming rally on February 4, said the square would only be opening because the contract to build a parking garage there will be expiring within the next week.
“Neither the Moscow mayor’s office nor the Moscow city government held any deliberate intent to freeze construction work on Triumfalnaya Square,” he said.
The announcement came a day after approximately 30 people were arrested during a Strategy 31 protest in defense of free assembly on the boundaries of the square.
Oppositionist activists in the Strategy 31 campaign have long contended that the decision to fence off their traditional meeting space was a politically motivated attempt to drive protesters out to more secluded parts of the city. There were no signs of construction being carried out since the barrier was erected.