A rally organized by labor groups to show mass working class support for Vladimir Putin's bid for a new presidential term has gathered around 12,000 people in the Russian Urals city of Yekaterinburg on Saturday, police said.
The event was organized workers from Uralvagonzavod, the state-run maker of battle tanks in central Russia since World War II,
Igor Kholmanskikh, one of the factory's workers, during his phone-in with the nation on December 15 told Putin that he and his colleagues were ready to help implement security in the opposition protests that swept across Moscow and other Russian cities.
"If our police are unable to work or cope then I and my mates are ready to come ourselves and ensure stability - of course within the limits of the law," he said in comments that have now become famous across Russia.
The demonstrators held up pro-Putin banners including "Russia needs a strong president" and "We support a stable future" as well as ones expressing pride at being workers "A metal worker - something to be proud of".
Regional police spokesman Valery Gorelykh said that the "meeting had proceeded calmly without any violations of the public order.”