Moscow Protest Draws Tens of Thousands

Participants brave sub-zero temps
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2011 8:09 AM CST
Moscow Protest Draws Tens of Thousands
Protesters carry a picture of Russian Prime Minister Putin next to an image of condom under an inscription "Single Use Only" as they gather to protest against alleged vote rigging.   (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

(Newser) – It looks as if 2011 will be the year of the protester until its very last moment: Tens of thousands of people poured into central Moscow today, weathering sub-zero temps to gather in a show of anger against what they say were rigged elections and clamor for a new vote. The AP reports that it's the largest protest in the Russian capital to date, with rally participants packing Sakharov Avenue about a mile and a half from the Kremlin, many shouting "Russia without Putin!" The Russian interior ministry reported 28,000 people in attendance; protest organizers claim the true figure is closer to 120,000.

A BBC reporter notes that many protesters are blowing red whistles—metaphorically "blowing the whistle" on Putin's 12 years in power. Protest leader Alexei Navalny, who spent 15 days in jail for leading a protest the day after the Dec. 4 parliamentary election, took the stage to loud applause. "I see enough people here to take the Kremlin right now, but we are peaceful people and won't do that just yet. But if these crooks and thieves keep cheating us, we will take what is ours," he said. "We are the power!" shouted protesters. (Read more Moscow stories.)

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