Russia protest leader vows 'million-strong' rally

24th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

One of the leaders of the protests against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's domination of Russia on Saturday vowed to bring one million people out on the streets for the next demonstration.

In a angry speech to the tens of thousands gathered for the latest protest in Moscow, blogger Alexei Navalny vowed that Russia's current rulers would be ousted peacefully next year when Putin stands in presidential elections.

"I see enough people here to take the White House (the seat of the Russian government) right now. But we are peaceful people and we will not do that -- for the moment," he said.

"We know what we will do. We will go out onto the street until they give back what is ours. Next time, we will bring one million people onto the streets of Moscow," he said.

Navalny did not say when the next demonstration would be but the opposition has vowed to keep up protests until the results of December 4 parliamentary elections are annulled.

He asked the crowd: "You want to see millions protesting in Russia? Yes or no?" They replied with a resounding "Yes!".

Russian politician Vladimir Ryzhkov who organised the protest said 120,000 people had come to the Moscow rally although this figure was disputed by the police.

Navalny added: "We do not want to scare anyone. But I promise you that next year the leaders will change and power will belong to those to whom it should belong. Power will belong to the people."

"We want to respect the authorities. But those who are there now are not there because they have support but because they have control of television and a few courts. They do not have support, sources of authority."

Navalny emerged as one of the figureheads of the Russian protest movement through a blog that is vehemently critical of Putin and also investigations into corruption at state companies.

He was speaking to the protest days after he was released from prison after serving a 15 day jail term over his participation in a protest shortly after the elections.

© 2011 AFP

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