Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Moscow adoption ban protest draws thousands

A protest march against a recent law banning U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children was held in the center of Moscow on January 13, drawing thousands of Russian citizens.

Moscow police estimate 9,500 attendees, while protest organizers maintain that at least 30,000 participated in the march, with many demonstrators accompanied by their children, Radio Free Europe reports.

Protest organizers received permission from Moscow authorities for up to 20,000 protest participants. In preparation of the march, police officials dispatched 4,000 officers to maintain order. Participants were made to pass through metal detectors along the march's path while police helicopters monitored protest activities from above. Nine individuals were detained for public intoxication during the march.

Left Front movement leader Sergei Udaltsov, one of the march's organizers, said that a permanent protest in Moscow will occur in spring when the weather is warmer. Police officials said that they collected videotape evidence of Udaltsov burning photos of Duma officials that they plan to turn over to investigators for potential criminal charges, according to Radio Free Europe.

Several participants in the protest carried signs expressing their disapproval of the state duma's ban on adoptions by U.S. citizens. With the support of President Putin, the duma passed the adoption ban following U.S. sanctions against Russian officials suspected to be involved in human rights abuses, according to Radio Free Europe.

Previously, smaller protests were held in St. Petersburg, Kazan, Yekaterinburg and other Russian cities.