Russians hold rally to support protesters

About 15,000 people rallied in Moscow Wednesday to back 12 defendants arrested in a clash with police a year ago.


About 15,000 people rallied in Moscow Wednesday to back 12 defendants arrested in a clash with police a year ago.

MOSCOW — Chastened by the protests in Istanbul, Muscovites rallied Wednesday in a show of support for 12 opposition defendants on trial for their actions a year ago in a clash with Russian police.

Estimates of the crowd’s size varied but suggest that as many as 15,000 people may have taken part in the low-key march.


The turnout was far less than the tens of thousands present at protests a year ago, but those who participated Wednesday said they wanted to remind the public, and one another, that the opposition hadn’t disappeared.

Walking a dachshund named Snark, Maria Sakson said the marchers showed up on the Russia Day holiday so that President Vladimir Putin would know the protest movement still exists.

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‘‘We haven’t come to terms,’’ she said.

She can only look wistfully at Istanbul, a city she has visited twice, and which has seen huge protests this month in Taksim Square.

‘‘There are so many more brave people there than here,’’ she said. ‘‘We’re spoiled in many ways. And as a nation, we are used to being patient.’’


The rally was called the March Against Executioners.

The event was designed to show solidarity with those who were arrested and charged with rioting after clashes with police at a rally May 6, 2012, on the eve of Putin’s inauguration.

Some of the defendants have been in jail since and face steep sentences upon their inevitable convictions.

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