MOSCOW — Several thousand people demanding the release of political prisoners took to the streets of Moscow on Sunday in the biggest protest action this fall.
Protesters carried photographs of political prisoners, including business tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and members of the band Pussy Riot.
This month marks 10 years of imprisonment for Khodorkovsky, a onetime oil baron who was the richest man in Russia. Two young women from Pussy Riot, a politically charged punk-rock group, were imprisoned last year. They have at least one thing in common: They challenged Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Khodorkovsky openly supported opposition parties, and the Pussy Riot musicians performed a "punk prayer" at Moscow's main cathedral, calling for Putin to be driven from power.
Other photographs carried by protesters Sunday showed more than two dozen activists detained on May 6, 2011, in an anti-Putin march that ended in clashes with police.
"Our task today is to mobilize enough people to compel the Kremlin to release the innocent victims of political repression from prisons," opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who marched with his wife in the middle of the column, said in an interview.