Friday 22 June 2018

Thousands march in defiance of Kremlin

A man carries a portrait of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov during a march marking the three-year anniversary of his killing, in Moscow, Russia. Thousands of Russians took to the streets of downtown Moscow to mark three years since Nemtsov was gunned down outside the Kremlin. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
A man carries a portrait of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov during a march marking the three-year anniversary of his killing, in Moscow, Russia. Thousands of Russians took to the streets of downtown Moscow to mark three years since Nemtsov was gunned down outside the Kremlin. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Alec Luhn in Moscow

Thousands of people around Russia have marched in memory of slain Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov three weeks before a presidential election Vladimir Putin is almost sure win.

At least three demonstrators in Moscow and two in St Petersburg were detained. Several cities - including Nemtsov's home Nizhny Novgorod - banned marches yesterday, but demonstrators ignored them.

The opposition has been divided ahead of the March 18 election.

Ksenia Sobchak, the television host whose long-shot presidential candidacy is seen by some as a Kremlin ploy, walked at the front of more than 7,000 marchers in Moscow.

Not far behind marched popular anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny who has been calling for a voter boycott to lower turnout after he was barred from the race.

Ms Sobchak said she would fight the political system in which "a person can be killed for what he thinks and what he says".

Some marchers said they planned to boycott the vote.

"This is also a form of civic protest, to not participate in the election, because we can't influence its outcome," said student Ivan Drobotov (22).

Mourners laid flowers on a bridge near the Kremlin where Nemtsov - an outspoken critic of President Putin - was assassinated on February 27, 2015.

Five gunmen were convicted of his murder but the masterminds have never been identified.

Irish Independent

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