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ICC NOTE: The people of Russia are taking notice of the new restrictions and added punishments implemented by the latest anti-terror law. Protests have broken out again in Moscow as calls for an end to government repression have begun. While portions of the law expand what can be considered a crime for people under the age of 14, it has also created stiff fines, threat of expulsion from Russia, and potential prison time for those participating in religious missionary activity. At present the Kremlin is allowing the protests to proceed, but it remains to be seen whether a major crackdown will ensue on those breaking the new law and also those protesting its implementation. 

8/10/2016 Moscow, Russia (Reuters) – Hundreds of Russians protested in Moscow on Tuesday against new anti-terrorism legislation approved by President Vladimir Putin that critics say will curb basic freedoms and make it easier for the authorities to stifle dissent.

In Moscow’s wooded Sokolniki park, rights activists gave speeches criticizing the new legislation while some people carried banners reading “Down with political repression” and “Repression is fear before your own people”.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny urged those present to draw inspiration from protests against Putin in 2011-12. “We should return to the streets,” Navalny shouted to the crowd. “We’ll make Russia free.

There was a light police presence at the protest which had been given the go-ahead by officials.

The new package of anti-terrorism laws, championed by prominent lawmaker Irina Yarovaya from the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, was signed into law by Putin in July.

It toughens penalties for extremism, introduces prison sentences for failure to report a grave crime, a Soviet-era practice, and increases the number of crimes for which Russians as young as 14 years old can be prosecuted.

It also obliges network operators to store recordings of phone calls, images and messages of their users for half a year as well as data on those calls for a longer period.

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