June 12 - On the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin inaugurated a new loyalist party he created to broaden his power base, some 10,000 protesters and opposition leaders marched through Moscow to demand his resignation and the release of political prisoners. Mana Rabiee reports.
Demands in Russia for Putin's resignation. Some 10,000 protesters and opposition leaders marched through Moscow Wednesday under heavy police presence, demanding the resignation of President Vladimir Putin and the release of political prisoners. They're angry over what they say is Putin's clampdown on dissent, and fabricated political trials reminiscent of Stalin. One man's T-shirt read "Putin=Thief". (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) OPPOSITION ACTIVIST ANDREI SKOROKHOD, SAYING: "This is my banner. I think Putin has stolen freedom, justice, elections from Russians." NATS CHANTS OF "PUTIN" AT POLITICAL RALLY The march came just hours before Putin inaugurated a new loyalist party he created to broaden his power base, called the Popular Front. The spectacle mixed elements of Communist Party meetings and Western-style political conventions. This film director told the audience he's going to ask a "very stupid question". (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN FILM DIRECTOR STANISLAV GOVORUKHIN, SAYING: "Who will we nominate as the leader of our movement?" NATS CHANTS OF PUTIN NATS NATIONAL ANTHEM Putin's main source of support remains the dominant United Russia party, but opposition leaders have dubbed it the "party of swindlers and thieves." And his own job approval rating fell in January to a 12-year low.