Hundreds of Russians gathered in central Moscow on May 5 to commemorate a protest last year in which hundreds of demonstrators were detained for opposing Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency.
Carrying banners reading “Freedom to Political Prisoners,” the protesters marched toward Bolotnaya Square, where a May 6 rally in 2012 ended with riots and clashes with police on the eve of Putin’s inauguration.
Twenty-eight Bolotnaya protesters still face charges of inciting mass unrest.
A second rally is being held on May 6
to coincide with the exact anniversary of the Bolotnaya clashes.
Some observers say the dual rallies are a sign of fractures within Russia’s opposition movement, which was at its strongest in the months preceding Putin’s election but has been weakened by infighting and a fierce Kremlin crackdown.
Based on reporting by AFP, tvrain.ru, and Interfax