MOSCOW, January 9 (RIA Novosti) – Opponents of a law banning US nationals from adopting Russian children were granted permission on Wednesday to hold a protest march in central Moscow on January 13, officials and rally organizers said.
The ban is part of a wider response by Moscow to the Magnitsky Act, a US law that imposes travel bans and other sanctions on Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses. The law was signed into force by US President Barack Obama late last year.
Moscow City Hall gave permission for a march with the participation of up to 20,000 people, Moscow security chief Alexei Mayorov told RIA Novosti. The march will follow the same route as two of last year’s protests against the rule of President Vladimir Putin. But opposition leaders stressed that Sunday’s rally was a separate event.
“The organizers of the January 13 march are civil activists,” tweeted Sergei Udaltsov, leader of the Left Front political movement.
Key opposition figures are, however, expected to attend the rally, which will also call for the dissolution of parliament over the ban.
The Russian law, which was fast-tracked through parliament and signed by Putin late last year, has been largely supported by the general public here, with 56 percent of respondents in favor of the ban in a poll carried out in December by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM).
State Duma lawmakers said the law was a response to what they called the inaction of US officials over the deaths of 19 Russian children adopted by Americans since 1999. Over 45,000 Russian children have been adopted by US families in that period, according to the US State Department.
But the adoption ban proposal has drawn a furious reaction from human rights groups and a number of people were detained in Moscow in late December as they protested against the bill outside parliament.
Just over 135,000 people have also signed an online petition organized by the opposition-minded Novaya Gazeta newspaper against the ban.
(This article was corrected at 17:37 to change “Wednesday” to “Thursday” in paragraph one)