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Liu Xiaobo Supporters Picket Chinese Consulate In St. Peterbsurg

Norwegian Nobel committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland speaks during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo on December 10, in front of honoree, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- A handful of supporters of this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, have picketed the Chinese Consulate building in St. Petersburg, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The Solidarnost (Solidarity) opposition movement's branch in St. Petersburg planned to hold a mass gathering in support of Liu, but the city authorities refused to allow it. The activists, numbering fewer than 10, then decided to stage a series of protests in front of the Chinese Consulate on the Griboedov Canal embankment.

An RFE/RL correspondent reports from St. Petersburg that the picketers held placards saying: "We Support the Nobel Committee's Decision!," "Free Liu Xiaobo!," "Free China's Human Rights Defenders and Dissidents!" and "Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong Are Dead!"

Police tried to persuade the protesters to leave but did not detain anyone.

Russia was among around 20 countries that did not send a representative to the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo.

Liu is serving an 11-year prison term. The Chinese authorities placed his wife and supporters under house arrest to prevent anyone traveling to Norway to accept the prize on his behalf.

Read in Russian here