Thousands of Russians protested against Vladimir Putin yesterday in a demand for the release of political prisoners. LGBT activists immediately spotted the rainbow flag near the front of the procession.
Putin’s return to the presidency saw the passing of new laws aimed at cracking down on anti-government protests and restricting non-governmental organizations. The protesters marched Sunday with portraits of the jailed protesters and a banner stretching across the street reading: “Freedom to the Bolotnaya heroes, the hostages of Putin.” Some also carried Ukrainian flags to show their support for the anti-government protesters in neighboring Ukraine, where demonstrations have been going on for more than two months. Of the 28 people rounded up in the Bolotnaya case, eight were recently freed on amnesty. Several defendants have been under house arrest, but most of the others have been in jail for more than a year and a half.