Russia's US Adoption Ban to Spur New Anti-Putin March
Russian opposition activists plan a march urging to repeal a new law banning adoptions of Russian children by American citizens and dissolve the two houses of parliament next month.
Leader of the Left Front leftist opposition group Sergei Udaltsov said on Saturday that a group of activists submitted a request to the city authorities asking for permission to gather the anti-Kremlin march in downtown Moscow on January 13, RIA Novosti reported.
"The demonstration of 20,000 people will walk from Belorussky train station down to the State Duma," Udaltsov said.
The protesters will call on the authorities to cancel the controversial anti-US law, which includes the ban on adoptions by Americans, and dismiss the State Duma and the Federation Council - the two houses of parliament that passed it within days.
"It's clear that it won't be an action to support the US. One simply can't decide the fates of children this way, it's outrageous," he added.
The newly passed law is Russia's tit-for-tat response to the US Magnitsky Act, which was signed into law by US President Barack Obama earlier this month. The act introduces sanctions against Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses and is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a whistleblowing lawyer who died in a Moscow pre-trial detention center in 2009.
Numerous critics in Russia and abroad denounced the bill saying that it would strand tens of thousands of children, especially those with disabilities, in Russia's dilapidated orphanage system.
"We consider it antihuman and savage, it's an inadequate reaction to the Magnitsky Act," Udaltsov said.
The adoption ban is the most debated aspect of the proposed legislation, which also sets a visa ban on alleged US abusers of Russian citizens' rights and freezes any assets they may have in Russia; bans political non-governmental organizations that receive US funding and bars US citizens from working for politically active NGOs in Russia. The legislation would also bar Russian organizations from facilitating adoptions by US citizens.
The bill, signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on Friday, will come into effect on January 1, 2013.
Moscow's City Hall won't work during Russia's 10-day New Year break, which means they will respond on the rally request not earlier than January 9.