In Moscow thousands of protesters call for dissolution of State Duma: reports

13 January 2013 

Vera Vasilieva

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through Moscow on 13 January to call for the dissolution of the Russian State Duma. The protest came as the opposition’s response to the “Dima Yakovlev bill,” a law recently passed by the Russian parliament that bans United States citizens from adopting Russian children.

The route of the protest march began at Pushkin Square and stretched along Strastnoi, Petrovsky, Rozhdestvensky and Sretensky boulevards, ending at Sakharov Square. 

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The event wasn’t scheduled to begin until 2:00 pm, but by noon protesters had already begun to gather in front of the metal detectors that marked the starting point of the march. Among those present were political leaders Boris Nemtsov, Mikhail Kasyanov, Vladimir Ryzhkov, Ilya Yashin, Ilya Ponomarev, Dmitry Gudkov and Sergei Udaltsov; human rights activist Oleg Orlov; and political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky. Earlier, video clips were posted online featuring personal addresses by prominent cultural figures—including film director Eldar Ryazanov and actresses Tatyana Dogileva and Liya Akhedzhakova—calling on the public to join the protest.

Protest organizers handed out posters with portraits of Duma members who voted for the bill, nicknamed the “Anti-Magnitsky bill,” followed by the catch phrase, “march against the scum.” Some protesters carried children’s toys. The leaders of one column unfurled a banner that read, “For the dissolution of the State Duma.”

During the course of the march, protesters chanted various slogans: “Hands off the children!;” “Fresh Elections!;” “We are the power here!;” “Russia will be free!;” “Putin – Skis – Magadan!”; “The police are with the people! Don’t serve the morons!;” “Shame!”

Police and anti-riot squads maintained a cordon around the perimeter of the protest, which was flanked by buses and heavy construction equipment. Several police officers had dogs. Overhead, the protest was watched by the now-trademark police helicopter.

When the march reached Sakharov Prospect, the participants threw the posters bearing portraits of Duma members into specially prepared garbage skips. The protesters then began to head toward the entrance of the metro, where long lines formed as a result of the large turnout.