Hundreds of people have gathered in different cities across Russia on Saturday to protest against alleged electoral fraud in favor of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, RIA Novosti correspondents reported from the scene.
Some 1,000 people rallied in the southern Siberian city of Barnaul, about 200 at the central square in Chita and several hundreds of people in Krasnoyarsk, Russia’s Siberia, and more than 50 people came to an unsanctioned rally in Russia’s Far East city of Khabarovsk, RIA correspondents reported.
Khabarovsk officials did not give permission to hold a protest. The head of the Khabarovsk regional administration Interior Ministry Andrey Sergeev said on Friday that the police would apply strict measures to the participants in unauthorized rallies.
The police detained about 20 people during the rally, RIA Novosti correspondent reported.
Similar protests – both sanctioned and unsanctioned – are expected to take place later in the day in dozens of cities across Russia, as well as in some 20 other countries.
Some 30,000 people intend to take part in an authorized rally in Moscow, which is expected to become the largest public protest in Russia in almost a decade.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that citizens “should be given a right to express their opinion” if they are “acting within law.” But if they do break the rules, he said, the authorities should take action “by legal means.”