Putin Declares 'Respect' for Russian Protesters
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has declared "respect" for the views of tens of thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets to protest last weekend's election outcome, his spokesman said Sunday.
"Everybody has the right to express their opinion, as long as they did so peacefully and respected the law," said Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, as cited by DPA.
"We respect the views of the demonstrators, we are hearing what is being said and we will continue to listen to them," Peskov added.
On Saturday, some 100 000 people demonstrated in Moscow, in the biggest protest to take place there for more than a decade. Police put the figure at 25 000.
Thousands also took to the streets in St Petersburg and Vladivostok, while dozens were reportedly arrested in the cities of Perm in the Ural mountains and Khabarovsk in Russia's Far East.
Meanwhile, the Russian Electoral Commission rejected demands for chairman Vladimir Churov to be removed from office, a move that just two communist committee members had backed, Interfax news agency reported, cited by DPA.
Protesters hold Churov responsible for massive electoral fraud, allowing Putin's United Russia party to win 49.32% on December 4, enough to retain control of the lower house of parliament, or Duma.
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