The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, an Oslo-based human rights group, was organizing the first “Strategy 31” demonstration in Oslo over the weekend, to urge Russian authorities to honor their citizen’s constitutional right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
The demonstration in Oslo was scheduled for Sunday, the 31st of October, at 4pm in front of the Norwegian Parliament. It’s meant to be one of many similar demonstrations held around the world to support human rights advocates in Russia and their struggle to assemble publicly.
Two of Russia’s foremost human rights advocates were recently in Oslo, at the invitation of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, which monitors compliance with human rights provisions of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). One of them, Ludmila Alexeeva, spoke of demonstrations regularly being broken up or not allowed by Russian authorities, in violation of the 31st article of Russia’s own constitution.
Demonstrators started meeting quietly to protest the disruptions, on the 31st day of every month with 31 days, and Alexeeva has since become active in Strategy 31. The secretary general of the Helsinki Committee, Bjørn Engesland, had promised to look into organizing an Oslo version of the international series of civic protests, which helped lead to Sunday’s planned demonstration.
The Strategy 31 demonstration in Oslo is backed by several other groups including Amnesty International Norge, Bellona, Human Rights House Foundation, Norsk PEN, the Anti-Racism Center, Norsk Misjon i Øst and the Center for Studies of the Holocaust.
Views and News staff