Thousands rally for Putin before Russian election

By REUTERS
February 19, 2012 01:45

 
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MOSCOW - Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in cities across Russia in support of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Saturday in a show of force two weeks before a March 4 presidential election that is expected to return him to the Kremlin.

The rallies began in the Pacific coast port of Vladivostok and culminated with a late-night demonstration on wheels in Moscow, where motorists took to the streets with slogans such as "Putin rules" on their cars.

"One wish unites us: we want to be sure of tomorrow," said a declaration read out at the rally in St. Petersburg, which like many others was organised by trade unions that have close government ties.

The declaration urged Russians to vote on March 4 and "defend the right to the stable future."

In central Moscow, about 10 people staging a street protest against Putin were detained, Ekho Moskvy radio reported.

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