Russia's top antiextremism police officer says the parents of minors who attend rallies held without government permission -- and possibly their teachers, too -- should be liable for punishment under the law.
Timur Valiulin, head of the Interior Ministry's antiextremism department, made the remarks at a meeting of President Vladimir Putin's human rights and civil society council in Moscow on October 17.
"Undoubtedly, the participation of young people in unsanctioned street rallies is a matter of concern for us," Valiulin said, "And we...are also troubled by the fact that such protesters are getting younger."
High-school students have been among the protesters at rallies in recent months organized by opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, a vocal Putin critic who is seeking to run in Russia's March 2018 presidential election.
Russian officials have focused on the attendance of teenagers at the rallies and suggested that Navalny has pushed minors to break laws restricting public gatherings.
Navalny denies that and also says some of the restrictions are unconstitutional.
"Not only the children, who don't know what they are doing and choose to do it mainly out of curiosity, but also their parents -- and maybe even educational institutions, which are responsible not only for the education but also for the upbringing of young people -- should be accountable," Valiulin said.
Based on reporting by RIA Novosti and Interfax