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Anti-Putin human chain protest hits Moscow

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Thousands of Russians linked hands around Moscow on Sunday in a protest against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s expected return to the Kremlin for a third term in elections next weekend.

A din of endless honking descended on Moscow’s 16-kilometre (10-mile) Garden Ring Road as drivers expressed support for the human chain of smiling and waving people who gathered in freezing snowy weather.

“We came here because we disagree with what happened in the legislative elections,” said Mikhail, 22, in reference to fraud-tainted December 4 polls that sparked the first mass protests of Putin’s 12-year domination of Russia.

Police said at least 11,000 people braved the swirling snow at the event but organisers said 30,000 had turned out to deliver a message to Putin one week ahead of the presidential polls on March 4.

“People came here because they hope that this time their votes will be counted,” said another 48-year-old member of the human chain who identified himself as Mikhail.


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