Michael Jackson Fans Arrested Under New Rally Law
St. Petersburg police broke up an event to commemorate pop icon Michael Jackson, detaining one fan and accusing about 15 others of violating new rules requiring authorities' permission for holding rallies.
The fan club had gathered Monday afternoon outside the U.S. Consulate to mark the third anniversary of the celebrity's death by lighting candles and singing along to his hits.
Fans also hung a banner reading, "We remember, we grieve," on a fence near the consulate, Interfax reported.
Police swiftly intervened, however, and disbanded the gathering, claiming that the fans were inconveniencing pedestrians.
"Three police officers started to tell those who had gathered that they were violating the law, citing the law on municipal improvements and saying they were disturbing passersby," one of the fans told local news site Baltinfo.ru.
Police later detained a fan who was dressed up as Jackson and identified only as Andrei. He was accused of organizing an unsanctioned rally, Baltinfo.ru reported.
No detentions were reported at last year's memorial event in St. Petersburg, attended by about 20 people.