The McDonald's segment of Bolshaya Bronnaya was already blocked off by the police around 2:30 pm; metal detectors were being installed at Novopushkinskiy Square, across Tverskaya from the Pushkin monument.
At 5 pm, as I was walking back home, a narrow corridor has been fenced off and a few dozen police and OMON fighters were standing along the perimeter and crowding near the metal detectors.
I came closer, planning to take some pictures, but was destracted by a flower vendor selling absolutely terrific Georgines, my weakness, right next to the metal fence and the cops. I asked her what was going on but she didn't know. Her spot, though, would give her the best view of whatever was about to happen there, I thought. I bought five gorgeous flowers from her, learned that their company was one of the two in Moscow growing these lovely things, and Moscow's mayor Luzhkov worshipped them.
Now that my hands were full and I couldn't take pictures of the cops, I decided to at least ask them why they were there. A young uniformed woman by the metal detector said there'd be a rally - but she didn't specify. A very young and very pretty uniformed guy next to her was smiling way too happily at me, and when I asked him what kind of a rally, he didn't stop smiling and replied: "In support of Khodorkovsky!" Maybe I misread it, but I think he also found it very amusing that so many of them were there, prepared to guard God knows who from, well, God knows who.
A dissidentish-looking woman in thick, ugly glasses ran up to me after I thanked the cute cop and asked the same question I asked him. I told her about Khodorkovsky and she smirked in a way I couldn't decipher.
The McDonald's segment of Bolshaya Bronnaya was still blocked for traffic, but now there were six OMON buses parked by the sidewalk: the type of buses they use to cart guys like Ilya Yashin to police department, with huge uniformed guys smoking nearby or sitting inside behind the neat curtains.
I really wanted to take a picture, despite the flowers in my left hand and the bag in my right, but suddenly I felt just too pregnant for that...
Back home, I went to Khodorkovsky's Press Center site (Russian and English) and read there (in Russian) that 150 people had been allowed to hold a rally today, to draw attention to the ongoing injustice and give publicity to the upcoming appeal hearing, scheduled for Sept. 14.
I've had this rare craving for McDonald's food for months now, so I guess I'll rush back there now, buy myself a strawberry milkshake and sit outside, watching the OMON fighters watch another tiny, harmless opposition event.