Thousands of demonstrators led by prominent Russian writers marched through the streets of Moscow on Sunday, protesting the recent inauguration of President Vladimir Putin.
Novelist Boris Akunin led the call to the "stroll," as he put it, and he was joined by other prominent cultural figures, such as writer Dmitry Bykov, musician Andrei Makarevich, and novelist Lyudmila Ulitskaya.
The crowd unexpectedly swelled to around 10,000, and despite not receiving official authorization to carry out the march, police escorting the procession on the 2-kilometer (1.25-mile) route made no arrests.
This was in contrast to other rallies that had taken place in recent weeks, where violence broke out and many arrests were made. Leading opposition figures are among those who were detained.
On Sunday, however, protesters refrained from carrying signs and chanting slogans as they quietly made their way along the route, ending the march at a peaceful sit-in where opposition activists have camped out since May 9.
Protsters who have been detained in the past claim they were arrested simply because they were wearing white ribbons, a symbol of the opposition. Writer Akunin, whose real name is Grigory Chkhartishvili, said Sunday's walk was to see if this was really the case and if "it was possible as a resident of Moscow to walk the streets without repression."
mz/jlw (dpa, AP, AFP)