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Russia's Duma Passes Bill Restricting Rallies

4 June 2004 -- Russia's lower house of parliament today gave final approval to a modified bill restricting public rallies.

The original bill drew criticism when the Duma passed it in the first reading in April. The Duma softened the legislation after President Vladimir Putin suggested changes.

In its original form, the bill banned rallies in front of all government buildings. The amended version allows demonstrations outside government buildings with the exception of presidential palaces.

Demonstrations will also banned outside prisons, courts, border zones, and facilities deemed "dangerous and harmful to health," such as railways and high-voltage lines.

The bill still needs to be approved by the upper house and signed by the president to become law.