Thousands of opposition activists have marched through central Moscow – calling for the release of protesters arrested during an anti-Putin rally on May 6, 2012, the eve of his inauguration as president for a third term.
A year and a half on, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov said that it was now the right time to push for action: “Putin is really afraid that European leaders will boycott his corrupt Olympics [Sochi Winter Olympics 2014]. So now’s the best time to force him to release our guys.”
Police said that around 4,500 people had taken part in the march, which had passed peacefully.
One protester explained why he took part: “You can’t stay home when lawlessness is ruling, when the authorities have no limits, when innocent people are behind bars, and the judges are the guilty ones.”
More than 400 people were arrested during the May 6 protests, which ended in violent clashes with police. Most of those detained, including Nemtsov and fellow opposition leader Alexei Navalny, were later released.
The Russian government is considering an amnesty law, which could lead to the freeing of around a dozen several protesters who were tried and convicted of inciting unrest that day.