500 rally in Moscow demanding Putin's resignation

AP News
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Posted: Oct 23, 2010 9:52 AM
500 rally in Moscow demanding Putin's resignation

Some 500 people rallied in central Moscow on Saturday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and political reform.

Opposition activists from left-wing and liberal groups gathered at the statue of the 19th-century Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, known for his anti-government stance, in a rare opposition protest allowed by the Moscow authorities.

Former chess champion turned opposition leader Garry Kasparov and activists from other political groups demanded the dismissal of Putin and his government, whom protesters blame for economic problems and lack of political freedoms in Russia.

"I don't think the regime will last long, but every day it stays it causes tremendous damage for Russia," Kasparov told The Associated Press.

Leader of the Left Front Sergei Udaltsov said the campaigners also want to restore free elections to all governmental offices and carry out drastic political and economic reforms.

Popular support for vocal opposition groups is minimal in Russia, and their activities have been thwarted in regions like Moscow where authorities ban their rallies and police regularly break up their gatherings.