00:21 GMT +3 hours14 February 2016
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IOC Welcomes Putin's Abolition of Sochi Protest Ban

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International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach on Saturday welcomed steps taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin to lift a ban on protests during the Sochi Winter Games next month.

MOSCOW, January 4 (R-Sport) - International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach on Saturday welcomed steps taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin to lift a ban on protests during the Sochi Winter Games next month.

The February 7-23 Games are the first under Bach's watch and the German praised Putin for following up on promises made last year to adhere to so-called Olympic values during the event.

"We welcome this announcement," Bach was quoted as saying in an IOC statement sent to R-Sport. "It is in line with the assurances that President Putin gave us last year and part of the Russians authority's plans to ensure free expression during the Games while delivering a safe and secure Games."

Putin had put a blanket ban on any rallies or demonstrations in a presidential decree last August, but reversed it in a surprise announcement on Saturday that nevertheless noted protests will still require official permission during the broader Olympic period of January 7 through March 21.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti that in practice, local authorities and Games organizers would jointly nominate a suitable public area for protests, suggesting they would be restricted to that area alone.

 

Tags:
Vladimir Putin, protests, Sochi Olympics, IOC, Thomas Bach, Dmitry Peskov
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