Some 150 people took to the streets in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on Saturday to protest against the alleged fraud in Sunday’s parliamentary vote, local police said.
The protesters gathered on the seaside Korabelnaya Embankment, carrying placards with photocopies of election protocols, which they claim have been rigged in favor of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported.
The report put the number of protesters at 200, while other media reports said about 300 people had taken part in the rally. Some 50 police officers were deployed to provide security during the demonstration.
Similar protests – both sanctioned and unsanctioned – are expected to take place later in the day in dozens of cities across Russia, as well as in some 20 other countries.
Some 30,000 people intend to take part in an authorized rally in Moscow, which is expected to become the largest public protest in Russia in almost two decades.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that citizens “should be given a right to express their opinion” if they are “acting within law.” But if they do break the rules, he said, the authorities should take action “by legal means.”