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St Petersburg rallies against Putin

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St Petersburg rallies against Putin

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One week before Russia’s presidential poll, thousands have gathered in Vladimir Putin’s hometown of St Petersburg to oppose his expected re-election.

The crowd was lead by former chess champion, Garry Kasparov and opposition figurehead, Alexei Navalny, keen to show anti-Putin feeling exists outside the capital, Moscow.

Permission had been given for the rally and despite a heavy police presence, no arrests were reported.

Kasparov addressed the crowd saying: “Putin will meet with us, with the people of Russia. We have the power to send him where he belongs. Putin’s third term will be a prison term.”

The presidential poll comes three months after the fraud-tainted parliamentary vote in which Putin’s party managed to cling on to power.

In a bid to forestall fresh allegations of vote-rigging, authorities have been holding practice votes to test anti-fraud measures including cameras and transparent ballot boxes.