U.S. hopes for Russia post-election protests to be peaceful

The United States hopes Saturday protests against the results of Russia’s parliamentary polls will be peaceful, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has said.

“As we do anywhere in the world… we respect the right of citizens to express themselves through peaceful protest, through peaceful demonstrations,” Nuland told journalists in Washington on Friday when asked to comment on the U.S. expectations regarding the protests.

“We expect that those demonstrations will remain peaceful on behalf of all parties, whether they’re the demonstrators or whether they are those keeping social order,” she added.

Demonstrations against the alleged fraud in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, in which the pro-Kremlin United Russia party retained its majority, are planned to be take place later on Saturday in more than 40 cities across Russia, as well as in some 20 other countries.

The largest protest is expected to take place in Moscow on Saturday afternoon. Some 30,000 people intend to participate in the demonstration, which has been authorized by the authorities.

The United States has expressed concerns over the alleged violations during Sunday polls, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton describing then as neither free nor fair. Her statement sparked an angry reaction from Moscow, including Thursday comments by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who accused Washington of backing the Russian opposition and sending a “signal” that set off the protests.


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