Opposition has right to protest but must respect law - Putin
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MOSCOW, December 8 - RAPSI. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says the government must communicate with the opposition and allow it to hold rallies, although some opposition members are pursuing their own mercenary goals. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies must maintain order and prevent illegal activities.
"As for the street democracy protests, I believe that people should be granted the right to express their position if they do so with due respect for the law, and we should not restrict people's civil rights.
However, if somebody spurns the law, then the authorities and law enforcement agencies must ensure order using all the legal means," Putin said on Thursday.
An authorized opposition rally against election fraud in Moscow on Monday was followed by an unauthorized mass procession. Police arrest over 300 people. The opposition leaders then arranged an unauthorized rally on Tuesday that resulted in the detention of another 300 people.
One more large-scale opposition rally is scheduled for December 10 in Moscow. Protests against the allegedly falsified parliamentary elections have taken place in other cities across Russia.
Today Putin gave his first comments on the situation around rallies against the election results.