Thursday 22 March 2018

Protest against new adoption rules

People march during a protest rally in Moscow, Russia (AP)
People march during a protest rally in Moscow, Russia (AP)
People carry posters of Russian president Vladimir Putin during a protest rally in Moscow, Russia (AP)

Thousands of people marched through Moscow on Sunday to protest against Russia's new law banning Americans from adopting Russian children.

Shouting "shame on the scum," protesters carried posters of President Vladimir Putin and members of Russia's parliament who overwhelmingly voted for the law last month.

Outrage over the adoption ban has breathed some life into the dispirited anti-Kremlin opposition movement, whose protests against Putin and his government have flagged.

Sunday's protest was led by the same array of opposition leaders who spoke a year ago to tens of thousands of people demanding free elections and an end to Putin's 12 years in power.

One poster said: "Parliament deputies to orphanages, Putin to an old people's home."

The adoption ban was retaliation for a new US law targeting Russians accused of human rights abuses. It also addresses long-brewing resentment in Russia over the 60,000 Russian children who have been adopted by Americans in the past two decades.

Those opposed to the law say its main victims are not Americans but the Russian orphans, including some with disabilities, who otherwise would get new families in the United States. They also accuse Putin's government of stoking anti-American sentiments in Russian society in an effort to solidify support.

Opponents of the ban have been portrayed as unpatriotic citizens eager to "export" Russia's children.

Just ahead of the weekend protest, Putin's spokesman sought to ease anger over the adoption ban by announcing that some of the dozens of adoptions already under way could go forward, allowing children who have already bonded with American adoptive parents to leave the country.

Press Association

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