Russian Opposition Prepares For Anti-Putin Rally

By: AP
By: AP

MOSCOW (AP) -- Thousands of opposition supporters are expected to march in Moscow for the first major protest against President Vladimir Putin since the summer break.

The demonstration in the capital's downtown area will measure the strength of the opposition movement amid an intensifying Kremlin crackdown on dissent.

Putin has taken a tougher course against the opposition since his inauguration in May with a series of new repressive laws, arrests and interrogation of opposition activists. In August, a court handed two-year prison sentences to three members of the punk band Pussy Riot for performing an anti-Putin song inside Moscow's main cathedral.

The expulsion of an opposition lawmaker by the Kremlin-controlled parliament Friday has also fueled anger.

About 7,000 police officers were deployed to maintain security Saturday along the route of the march.

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