Moscow - Dozens of Russian activists braved snow on Sunday to protest against a law signed by President Vladimir Putin that has softened penalties for those who commit domestic violence.About 80 people, including students and professionals working with domestic violence victims, gathered in a Moscow park for the rally which, in a rarity, was permitted by the city authorities.Putin on Tuesday signed amendments that have prompted a hail of criticism from victims and experts who say they will make it harder to stop abusers and protect those hurt.The measure reduces the penalty for violence against family members when it is the first such offence within a year and where it did not cause serious injury.Abusers who previously faced up to two years in prison now can be punished by a fine, community service or up to 15 days in police custody. Broken livesThe law was proposed by conservative lawmakers who oppose state intervention in family life and argued that the previous law could be used to punish parents for using corporal punishment.Protesters in the snow-covered Sokolniki park held placards with slogans including "The first time he hit...the second time he killed" and "Every 40 minutes a woman dies from beating in the family.""We will fight for domestic violence to become a crime," said rights lawyer Mari Davtyan, who spoke at the demonstration and has represented many victims."I am really sad that such a law has been passed. As a lawyer I meet women every day with broken lives and health. We will continue the struggle."