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Russia To Set Up Protest Zones In Sochi

The head of the International Olympic Committee says Russian organizers have agreed to set up protest zones in Sochi during the Winter Olympics.

Thomas Bach said Sochi organizers notified him of the decision during their report to the International Olympic Committee executive board on December 10.

Bach says the Russians will establish designated areas for "people who want to express their opinions or want to demonstrate for or against something."

In August, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning "gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets" for 2 and 1/2 months in Sochi around the Olympics and Paralympics.

Analysts say Putin's decree appeared aimed at heading off demonstrations against a controversial law banning promotion of "nontraditional sexual relations" to minors.
Based on reporting by AFP and AP

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