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   Russia's Lower House Approves Bill Limiting Public Rallies

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News Date

3/31/2004 12:00 am

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Associated Press

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News

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Entered 3/31/2004, Updated 3/31/2004

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Russia's Lower House Approves Bill Limiting Public Rallies The Honolulu Advertiser Russia's overwhelmingly pro-Kremlin lower parliament house approved a bill sharply limiting locations where demonstrations can be held, a move denounced by critics as a threat to democracy. The State Duma, dominated since December elections by the United Russia party, which supports President Vladimir Putin, approved the bill in its first of three readings, 294-137. To become law, it also needs to be approved by the compliant upper house and signed by Putin. The bill would ban allies and pickets outside official buildings, foreign embassies, international organizations and high-risk industrial facilities as well as along highways, railways and pipelines. Sergei Kovalyov, a prominent human rights activist, said the bill's phrasing could allow authorities to ban rallies at almost any city location.


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