Russian Protesters Want Brand-New General Elections
The protesters at a massive rally in central Moscow adopted a resolution on Saturday calling for new and fair elections and open registration for all opposition parties by February 2012.
Other demands include the immediate release of all "political prisoners," referring to political activists detained during protest actions, and the annulment of the December 4 parliamentary election results, which they claim were rigged in favor of the ruling United Russia party, RIA Novosti reported.
The protesters also insist on the resignation of Russian Central Electoral Commission chief Vladimir Churov, the prosecution of all those involved in ballot stuffing and a vote against presidential hopeful Vladimir Putin next March.
All opposition parties, not only the so-called "establishment opposition", must be registered and allowed to run to ensure genuinely free and fair elections, the resolution said.
Legislation easing party registration rules should be adopted no later than next February, according to protester demands.
Police put the number of protesters within the area authorized for the rally at 29,000 but a far larger crowd was massed behind a long line of metal detectors set up on the street as would-be participants were screened through them one by one, RIA Novosti said.
Rally organizers and RIA Novosti correspondents on the scene estimated the turnout number at several times higher than the police figure.
A spokesperson for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that laws simplifying the rules for the registration process for all political parties would be adopted as soon as possible. However, they specified that this new stance has nothing to do with the protests demanding fair elections.
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