Several thousand people gathered around Moscow on Sunday, linking hands together in a protest against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s run for president in elections slated for next weekend, according to media reports.
Activists estimated that around 34,000 people helped form the human chain in Moscow, while police said that number was around 11,000, reported Radio Free Europe (RFE). Many of the people wore white or displayed white ribbons, a symbol adopted by protesters to express dissatisfaction with Putin, who has dominated Russian political arenas for the past 12 years.
“Nothing large scale was achieved apart from [Putin’s] cosmetic operations and constant self-promotion,” Yevgeny, an army pensioner who attended the protest, told RFE. “Now we need a change of authorities. Either that, or the next six years will be just like the last 12.”
Sergey Parkhomenko, an organizer for protests for fair elections in Moscow, told state-run English-language RT news that Sunday’s human chain was not organized by any particular group and it was grassroots based.
“People are the main initiators. … Such events are good because they have neither beginning nor ending, neither head or tail, neither organizers nor sponsors,” Parkhomenko said. “They depend on people who decide to gather.”