Tens of thousands protest against Putin

Tens of thousands protest against putin

"Russia without Putin" and "putin is a thief" chanted the crowd over and over again at the first riot in three months in the center of the capital on saturday. Speakers also demanded freedom for political prisoners such as the punk band pussy riot, which was sentenced to imprisonment.

Sergei Udalzov, one of the opposition leaders, spoke on saturday of about 150,000 participants, while the police spoke of a maximum of 14,000 demonstrators. After the official end of the rally in the late evening, police arrested udalzow for calling for an illegal protest march and obstructing traffic. Also some of his followers were taken away. The communists, the strongest opposition party in the duma, had not yet joined the mass protests.

"If we don't demand putin's resignation, if we don't demand new presidential elections, we won't change anything in the country," former deputy head of government boris nemtsov shouted from the stage. Speakers also called for social and economic reforms. Authorities approved protest for 25,000 people. A massive deployment of 7000 security forces was supposed to keep order.

Before the rally, the divided opposition had formed in blocks to form a "march of the millions. But speakers emphasized that left-wing, right-wing and liberal groups demonstrated together. "We must be united, we must not hurt each other, even if we don't have the same views," opposition politician gennady gudkov shouted to the crowd.

The state duma, dominated by the kremlin party united russia, had stripped gudkov of his mandate the day before because of alleged illegal extra earnings. Commentators stressed that the opposition had not been intimidated by this or by harsher punishments, for example for violations of the right to demonstrate.

Gays and lesbians, who are often discriminated against by russian society, also took part, waving flags with the rainbow symbol.

"The important thing now is for the opposition to stand united, any division only benefits putin's grip on power," said green european parliamentarian werner schulz, according to a news release. "Only a united opposition that neither provokes nor allows itself to be provoked has a chance against the regime"."

Prominent opponents of the government, such as ex-chess world champion garri kasparov and blogger alexei nawalny, marched at the head of the rally, for which streets in the center were cordoned off for the first time. Udaltsov of the left front announced the next mass protest for the 20. October to.

In the tourist metropolis of st. Petersburg, up to 2000 opponents of the government took to the streets. There were protests in other cities as well, with a few dozen people taking part in each, according to police reports. In nizhny novgorod police arrested about 15 participants of an unauthorized action. According to the opposition, a young woman was injured in the head.

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