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Putin Lifts Olympic Protest Ban

Russian President Vladimir Putin has lifted a blanket ban on demonstrations in and around the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in the city of Sochi.

A decree published by the Kremlin Saturday allows demonstrations and marches at locations, or along routes, that still must be approved by various Russian officials. The demonstrations do not have to be connected to the games.

Mr. Putin last year ordered a ban from January 7 to March 21 on any demonstrations in the Black Sea resort city not connected with the Games. The ruling was widely criticized by human rights organizations.

Saturday's decree did not say how decisions will be made on which demonstrations will be allowed.



Some world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama have announced they will not attend the opening ceremony.

Russia has planned strict security measures during the Olympics. Fears that Islamist militants could stage attacks during the Games were heightened by two recent suicide bombings in the southern city of Volgograd, nearly 700 kilometers from Sochi.

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