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Several Reported Detained at Moscow Internet-freedom Rally

  • RFE/RL

People shout during an opposition rally demanding free internet in Moscow, Russia, Aug. 26, 2017. About 1,000 people attended the protest against the government's internet policy.

Several people have reportedly been detained in Moscow at a sanctioned demonstration in support of internet freedom.

One demonstrator was detained on Saturday while wearing a T-shirt reading, "Putin is worse than Hitler," referring to President Vladimir Putin.

Several other demonstrators were detained while wearing symbols supporting equal rights for the LGBT community.

Some at the rally, which had been approved by local officials, shouted, "Russia will be free," and "Russia without censorship."

According to Moscow officials, about 1,000 people attended the rally.

Similar demonstrations were held in several other Russian cities, including St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Izhevsk and others.

Demonstrators were calling for changes to legislation restricting the internet that were included in the so-called Yarovaya package of laws — named after conservative State Duma member Irina Yarovaya.

Last month, Russia's parliament approved legislation that forbids the use of certain web tools that allow internet users to access certain websites that have been banned by officials.

Protesters also called for the release of people jailed for purportedly disseminating "extremist" material via the internet and for the resignations of the leadership of Roskomnadzor, the state agency that monitors and regulates the internet.

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