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Russian opposition hopes for 'unprecedented' anti-Putin rally

Russian opposition hopes for 'unprecedented' anti-Putin rally
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Tens of thousands of Russians have pledged via social network sites to turn out at demonstrations on Saturday against alleged electoral fraud.

In Moscow protesters were out trying to drum up support, distributing white ribbons that they hope will become the symbol of Russian opposition.

Saturday’s planned demonstration has been given official permission, subject to restrictions.

“These ribbons symbolise another eruption of people’s outrage against what was happening these days, all this lawlessness by the authorities,” said one man.

A young woman said:

“I will go to the protest, and I realise quite clearly that I might not come back home, but I’ll still go because my heart aches for Russia.”

Last Sunday’s contested ballot returned Vladimir Putin’s United Russia to power in the Duma, but with a slim majority. The protests since then have been unprecedented in the Putin era.

The liberal Yabloko party believes it was the main victim of electoral fraud and should have won 8-9 percent of the vote instead of its official score of 3.3 percent.

Its chairman Sergey Mitrokhin rounded on Putin for blaming America for interfering.

“Gaddafi too until the very last minute thought the main reason for all Libya’s problems lay in the West. This dictatorial logic doesn’t do him any good,” he said.

Many have been outraged by evidence such as an amateur video which, it is claimed, shows an attempt to add piles of extra votes for United Russia to ballot boxes.