Anti-Putin protesters staged another mass march in Moscow in a show of their non-dwindling strength.
Tens of thousands of people marched in central Moscow on Saturday in the first major protest after a season of holidays and a series of repressive moves taken by the Kremlin.
During the past four months authorities enacted several anti-opposition laws, arrested activists, stripped an outspoken Putin critic of his parliamentary mandate and handed two-year prison terms to the punk band Pussy Riot for performing an anti-Putin song in Moscow’s main cathedral.
However, the demonstration, which drew leftists, liberals and nationalists, showed that the protest movement that began nine months ago has not lost momentum since Vladimir Putin returned as President in May.
For the first time Russian Communists, who earlier dismissed the new protest movement as “bourgeois”, joined the march. In another first, the manifesto adopted at the rally, included social and economic demands, such as like a freeze in utility payments hikes and the right of trade union to strike.
Along with old rallying cries, such as “Russia without Putin,” demonstrators carried new slogans mocking Mr. Putin’s recent flight in a motorised glider to lead a flock of young Siberian white cranes on their migration to the south.
“Putin’s flock has thieves, not cranes,” said one slogan. Another one played on the famous verse by Dante Alighieri.
“All hope abandon ye who flies with me,” the hand-written slogan said.
Next protest is now planned for October 20, 2012.
“We will keep on marching as long as it takes for the Kremlin to heed our protest,” said Alexei Navalny, the most charismatic opposition leader.