Thousands of Russians protest adoption ban on US

Moscow, Jan 13 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Thousands of Russian activists gathered in Moscow Sunday to hold a protest march against a law banning US nationals from adopting Russian children.

Co-chairmen of the People's Freedom Party Boris Nemtsov, Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Ryzhkov led the march in Strastnoy Boulevard.

The Moscow City Hall gave permission for a march with the participation of up to 20,000 people. The march will follow the same route as of last year's protests against President Vladimir Putin.

The ban on adoption is part of a wider response by Moscow to the Magnitsky Act, a US law that imposes travel bans and other sanctions on Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses.

The Russian law, which was fast-tracked through parliament and signed by Putin late last year, has been largely supported by the public.

Around 56 percent of respondents were in favour of the ban in a poll carried out in December by the Public Opinion Foundation.

State Duma lawmakers said the law was a response to what they called the inaction of US officials over the deaths of 19 Russian children adopted by Americans since 1999.

Over 45,000 Russian children have been adopted by US families in that period, according to the US State Department.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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