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Peaceful rallies must not spill into riots going beyond the law, warns Putin

Opinions must be expressed through lawful means, the Russian president stressed
Russian President Vladimir Putin Mikhail Mettsel/TASS
Russian President Vladimir Putin
© Mikhail Mettsel/TASS

MOSCOW, December 10./TASS/. Opinions must be expressed within the law and situations in which peace rallies would spill into riots must be prevented, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

"One throws a glass at a representative of the authorities. They do this and nothing happens, then a plastic bottle is thrown — and again nothing follows. Then one throws a glass bottle, then a stone, and then they will start shooting and looting stores. We must not allow this," Putin told a session with members of the Human Rights Council.

However, all Russian people have the right to voice their position through all possible legal means, the president emphasized. "We must support all those who feel love and responsibility for their Fatherland, and there are many people among those voicing their protests who sincerely want to change things for the better," the president said in reply to a request from filmmaker Alexander Sokurov to stop excessive use of force against young people.

According to Sokurov, at the moment there is no working mechanism of interaction between the authorities and young protesters. "The state is not looking young people in the face, but rather in the back," he said. "The authorities must realize that there are two most important notions for the Russian youth — beauty and justice," the filmmaker noted.

Besides, Sokurov asked Putin to meet with young people who were jailed or are under investigation for voicing protests in this or that form.