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You're reading: Russian opposition prepares for anti-Putin rally
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Protesters chanting
“Russia without Putin!” and “We are the Government!” walked along the
capital’s tree-lined boulevards to a broad avenue where a rally will be
held later in the day. The demonstration reflected that opposition
sentiment remains strong despite the government’s efforts .

Putin
has taken a tougher course against the opposition since his inauguration
in May with a series of new repressive laws, arrests and interrogation
of activists. In August, a court handed two-year prison sentences to
three members of the punk band Pussy Riot for performing an anti-Putin
song inside Moscow’s main cathedral. Some activists carried big balloons
with balaclava masks painted on — the band’s trademark headwear.

A
day before the rally, parliament expelled an opposition lawmaker who
angered the Kremlin by joining the protest movement. The vote to oust
Gennady Gudkov over allegations of running a business in violation of
parliament rules — charges Gudkov called “a sham” — angered many,
possibly helping beef up the ranks of protesters.

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