Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in Moscow to protest against recent changes to Russian adoption laws and calling for the parliament that passed the law to be dissolved.
Protesters have gathered on Sunday in an anti-Kremlin demonstration in central Moscow holding signs that read “shame”, “march against the scum” among other anti-government slurs.
Strengthened riot police units and trucks have been deployed on the streets along the route of the opposition march.
“It is not possible to live like that. There’s a feeling that we are sinking into the epoch of the Inquisition,” said Eldar Ryazanov, a popular Russian film director on the law which came into effect on January 1.
President Putin signed a law last month banning Americans from adopting Russian children in response to a US human rights law flagging Russians involved in the death of an anti-corruption lawyer.
Protesters say that the Russian orphans are victimised by the law and not Americans.
“Without adoption, such children have no chance” said Dmitry Belkov, an organiser. “We can see that this law is a worse thing to do to those children than the treatment animals get in other countries.”
Russian legislators have said the adoption ban was justified by the deaths of 19 Russian-born children adopted by American parents in the past decade.
They also pointed out that they perceive the treatment of those parents by US courts and police as “lenient”.
The ruling United Russia Party, which submitted the law has retaliated to the growing protests by branding opponents of the protest as unpatriotic.