Hundreds of people have marched through central Moscow calling for internet freedom. Protesters from various social movements including the opposition Parnas party carried posters and chanted slogans against Russia’s censorship rules and hard line on what it calls, extremist propaganda. Some people also shouted ‘Russia without Putin’.
When asked why he attended the march, one protester spoke of the need for freedom of expression and liberty. He believes that the internet is the last place Russians are able to speak freely.
Another protester spoke of the reduction to education and information available to the population that the censorship brings. He believes that it is a way of controlling what people are able to view, therefore influencing their opinions of government policy.
Although the protest was officially sanctioned, according to media reports, several people bearing ‘anti-president symbols’ are said to have been detained.
Russian officials dismissed accusations by rights groups and Western governments that authorities are increasing efforts to stifle online dissent.