Top US lawmaker condemns Putin protest threat
A top US lawmaker on Tuesday denounced Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's recent warning that anti-government demonstrators at banned protests would get "a cudgel to the head" from police.
"Putin's overt and public threat to beat democracy protestors has taken Russia's ongoing assault against human rights and democratic rights to a whole new, disturbing level," said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Ros-Lehtinen, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Russia "must be held accountable for its crackdown on all forms of dissent -- including the murders of journalists."
"Responsible nations cannot overlook Russia's downward spiral towards tyranny and oppression, and must deny Russia membership in the World Trade Organization and all of the other perks which it does not deserve," she said.
Her comments came after Putin said in an interview with the Russian daily Kommersant, published Monday, that protestors would "take a cudgel to the head" if they failed to get "permission" from local authorities to demonstrate.
"If they go out without permission, they'll take a cudgel to the head. That's all there is to it," Putin told the daily.
© 2010 AFP