The protests will take place in Moscow against alleged state censorship Unsplash/Oliver Thomas Klein

The Mayor's office in the Russian city of Moscow has reportedly granted a request from political activists linked to the People's Freedom Party, or Parnas, who want to stage a formal street demonstration in support of internet freedom on Sunday 23 July.

According to Russian news outlet Meduza, the permit will allow up to 10,000 people to gather for the march, which takes place from Moscow's Pushkinskaya subway station to Sakharov Prospekt — a street located in the heart of the capital that is often used for protests.

Meduza reported that the demonstration will be staged against the heavy online censorship currently in the country, while also requesting the "exoneration of Russians prosecuted for posting content online".

Activists are reportedly demanding the resignation of the chief of the Roskomnadzor, the state censor.

The news came 24 hours after Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report condemning the Russian government's censorship of the internet, revealing in detail how the authorities have "intensified a crackdown on freedom of expression" in recent years.

There appears to be plenty to protest against. The HRW report read: "State intrusion in media affairs has reached a level not seen in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. The laws passed since 2012 have dramatically increased the state's control over the media landscape.

"Russia's authorities are leading an assault on free expression," Yulia Gorbunova, Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Tuesday 18 July. "These laws aren't just about introducing tough policies, but also about blatant violation of human rights."

"The Russian government effectively controls most traditional media, but independent internet users have been openly challenging the government's actions," Gorbunova continued. "The authorities clearly view independent online users as a threat that needs to be disarmed."

The HRW report said that since 2012 the Russian government had "adopted numerous laws that limit or can be used to interfere with freedom of speech and information". Some of the most recent changes "threaten privacy and secure communications on the internet," it added.

As previously reported, the state has recently clamped down on a slew of companies operating in the country, including LinkedIn, Telegram and PornHub. At the same time, authorities are increasingly pushing for restrictions to be placed on the use of virtual private networks (VPNs).