MOSCOW (Reuters) – Thousands of Russians gathered in central Moscow on Sunday for an annual march in memory of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was shot and killed a stone’s throw from the Kremlin in 2015.
Protesters carried portraits of the slain politician and marched behind a banner reading “We have given Russia away to the crooks, it’s time to take it back.”
Around 10,600 people gathered for the rally on Sunday on a boulevard around 1.5 kilometres (0.9 miles) north of the Kremlin, according to White Counter, an NGO that tallies up participants at rallies using metal detector frames.
A demonstration also began in St Petersburg.
“This is a march in opposition to Vladimir Putin. This is a march for a free and democratic Russia,” one of the event’s organisers, politician Ilya Yashin said in a video prior to the march.
Nemtsov, one of President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critics, was murdered in 2015 as he walked across a bridge near the Kremlin. Aged 55, he had been working on a report examining Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine.
His killing sent a chill through opposition circles.
In 2017, a court sentenced a man to 20 years in jail for his murder and handed terms of between 11 and 19 years to four other men convicted of being his accomplices.
At the time, the late politician’s allies said the investigation had been a cover-up and that those who had ordered the assassination remained at large.
(Reporting by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)