Tens of thousands march against Putin

2012-06-12 15:47


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Moscow - Tens of thousands of protesters chanting "Russia Will be Free" rallied in Moscow on Tuesday against President Vladimir Putin's third term despite a police crackdown on their leaders a day earlier.

The largely youthful crowds, many wearing the movement's symbolic white ribbons, made their way down leafy boulevards from Moscow's central Pushkin Square as Putin warned in a speech to mark Russia's national holiday that any upheaval would not be tolerated.

One event organiser put attendance at the so-called March of Millions at more than 100 000 while the city's police department counted just 18 000 participants.

However aerial television footage of the main rally suggested a figure of at least double that quoted by the police.

"Dear friends, they are afraid of us and we aren't afraid of them," veteran protest leader Boris Nemtsov told a sea of people on Moscow's broad Sakharov Avenue - the scene of similar demonstrations more than six months ago.

"We live in occupation and we are fighting occupiers on our territory," added prominent environmentalist and blogger Yevgenia Chirikova to cheers of approval.

Leaders absent

The protest came just a day after the homes of its leaders were raided in a police crackdown that was condemned by Washington and sparked concerns of a new bid by the former KGB agent to turn back the clock on past reforms.

Almost all the main leaders of the social network-driven protest were absent because they were being questioned by investigators, who denied hauling them in for the sole purpose of disrupting the march.

But Putin vowed on Tuesday not to let Russia be shaken by social upheaval during his six-year term.

"We cannot accept anything that weakens our country or divides society," Putin said in a televised address commemorating the Russia Day national holiday.

"We cannot tolerate decisions and actions capable of leading to social and economic shocks."

Analysts view the nascent protest movement as the biggest challenge that has confronted the strongman leader during his 12-year domination of Russia as both president and more recently as premier.

US expresses concern

Putin has preferred to treat the protests dismissively and has repeatedly accused the US State Department of helping incite the demonstrations through indirect funding.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters on Monday that Washington "is deeply concerned by the apparent harassment of Russian political opposition figures on the eve of the planned demonstrations".

But police officers appeared on the Sakharov Avenue stage to present Nemtsov and fellow speaker Sergei Udaltsov warrants to appear for questioning at the powerful Investigative Committee later in the day.

The two are being probed along with the anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and television presenter Ksenia Sobchak and others over their roles in bloody clashes at a protest held on the eve of Putin's inauguration.

"It is terrible to be sitting here when things on Sakharov are so fun and cool," Navalny tweeted in the course of his questioning.

"They are asking about our incomes going back to January 1, 2005."

Cyber attack

He and the others were still being interrogated more than four hours after the initial march's start.

The websites of Russia's main independent news sources meanwhile became inaccessible just as the protesters began gathering at the central Puskin Square for their march.

Those affected included the Moscow Echo radio station and Dozhd (Rain) TV website as well as prominent opposition Novaya Gazeta twice-weekly newspaper.

The websites of Russia's main media sources - including Kremlin-allied papers and state-controlled television stations - were all accessible and operating without delay.

The three opposition media switched their news feeds to the main social networks popular with Russians and blamed the breakdown on a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack of unknown origin.

Opposition leaders accuse pro-Putin youth groups of staging such attacks with the Kremlin's tacit approval at sensitive political times.

Read more on:    vladimir putin  |  russia  |  social networks  |  russia protests

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Saturday Cape Town - 10:57 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:19 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and Canterbury Road until 1300
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R445.23

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.