Originally posted on National Post | News:
MOSCOW — Helmeted riot police round up hundreds of protesters, including some whose only apparent crime is wearing white ribbons of opposition. A teacher who spoke out about election rigging is dragged into court and fined. Now a new law signed by President Vladimir Putin on Friday raises fines for participating in unauthorized protests 150-fold, to nearly the average annual salary in Russia.
Putin has cracked down on the opposition since returning to the presidency, and he seems to be betting that by threatening demonstrators with prison time and harsh fines he can quash the street protests that have posed an unprecedented challenge to his 12-year rule.
Putin said that the law is designed to safeguard Russians from “radicalism.”
“In guaranteeing citizens’ right to express their opinion, including in street rallies, society must protect other citizens, the general public, from radicalism,” he said in televised remarks. He added, however,…
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