Mon, 10 Aug 2020

MOSCOW -- Russian police detained dozens of people who had gather in Moscow to protest recently approved constitutional changes that could allow President Vladimir Putin to serve two more terms until 2036.

OVD-Info, an independent political watchdog, said at least 103 protesters were detained on July 15.

Some of those detained were dragged on the asphalt, and one of them was pulled by the hair in a police van, according to a Current Time correspondent.

A female minor was among the detainees, along with her mother.

Hundreds of people had gathered on Pushkin Square protesters on a rainy evening in the Russian capital, chanting 'Putin resign' and 'Putin's a thief.'

They turned out officially to sign a petition against the raft of constitutional changes that were passed in a national, nonbinding plebiscite conducted between June 25 and July 1.

Among other changes, the amendments allow Putin to seek two more presidential terms after his current second, consecutive presidential term ends in 2024.

Katya Grishunina, who works at the Nuzhna Pomoshch (Help Needed) NGO, compared the recent plebiscite to the vote in Crimea in March 2014 on Russia's forcible annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

'I didn't vote for their constitutional changes. The vote was rigged, just like the referendum in Crimea,' Grishunina explained to RFE/RL at the demonstration.

'Elections are a trigger for people who want real change,' she added. 'But I don't know if we can effect any change right now.'

With reporting by Matthew Luxmoore in Moscow

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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