Thousands march against Putin

Despite attempts by Putin to clamp down on opposition, Russians flocked to an anti-government march in Moscow.

Published June 12, 2012 2:52PM (EDT)

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

Thousands of Russians have joined protests in Moscow today, demonstrating against President Vladimir Putin and demanding fresh elections.

Global Post

The anti-government protests, which come on the June 12 national holiday known as Russia Day, are taking place despite tough new measures by Putin to try and clamp down on growing opposition to his rule.

Last week, Putin signed a new law that imposes heavy fines on those accused of violating protest guidelines.

Agence France-Presse said the protest penalties were raised to 300,000 rubles ($9,000), which is about the size of Russians' average annual salary.

More from GlobalPost: Russia: 20 arrested as parliament debates controversial rally bill

According to Reuters, marchers chanted "Russia will be free" in what is the first major rally since Putin was sworn in again as president on May 7.

Police raided the homes of several prominent opposition movement figures yesterday ahead of the protests.

One of the activists, Sergei Udaltsov, ignored an order to report for questioning and instead led a group of marchers and addressed the crowd, Reuters said.

According to the BBC, independent media websites went down shortly before the rally.

Russia Day is an annual holiday marking the country's declaration of sovereignty from Soviet rule on June 12, 1990.

By News Desk


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