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Feb 27,2009
Putin defends legal protests in Russia
by UPI

MOSCOW - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Friday that protests in his country shouldn't be restricted as long as they are conducted legally.

While meeting with top members of the ruling United Russia party Friday, Putin said all legal forms of protest wouldn't face restrictions in Russia in the future, RIA Novosti reported.

"Our legitimate political forces have been acting responsibly and I hope that this will continue. We cannot, we should not, and we will not restrict legal forms of protest," the prime minister said.

Putin said a major crisis, such as the ongoing economic downturn in most parts of the world, creates more opportunities for protests.

But he warned that those protesters who fail to obey Russian law would face restriction by the government.

"This isn't bad, on the whole, if it is done within the law, but if it goes beyond the limits of the law, then they are pursuing their own petty, selfish aims, and trying to make a name for themselves. We cannot permit the type of events that happen in other countries," Putin said.

© 2009 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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