Moscow, August 17, Interfax - Police are stepping up their presence outside Moscow's Khamovnichesky Court, which is expected to hand down its verdict in the case of all-female punk group Pussy Riot performers on Friday.
The street leading to the court building was cordoned off by metal barriers at 8:00 a.m. Moscow time, an Interfax correspondent reported. More than ten police buses are parked nearby.
This part of the street has temporarily been closed off both to pedestrians and cars.
Defense lawyers representing the defendants earlier announced plans to hold a rally in support of the Pussy Riot members.
People who are not indifferent to the girls' fate will gathered outside the court building on August 17, the lawyers said, calling on demonstrators to behave peacefully and support the defendants by exclusively legal methods.
Several political and cultural figures have announced their readiness to join the action, among then writer Boris Akunin, actress Chulpan Khamatova, as well as opposition activists Alexeyi Navalny and Sergey Udaltsov.
Opponents of the Pussy Riot band promised to come to the court building as well. Activists of the Moscow branch of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party will stage a picket in support of the Russian Orthodox Church.