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5,000 people rally in Moscow in protest for media freedom

Published on Apr 14, 2014 1:05 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - About 5,000 Russians, some waving Ukrainian flags, rallied in central Moscow on Sunday to protest at what they say is a government crackdown on independent media intended to stifle debate about the crisis in Ukraine.

In the past few weeks, Russia has removed the longtime editor of a popular Russian Internet news site Lenta.ru and taken an independent television channel off air.

The Kremlin denies allegations of censorship or pressure on the media. Most Russians support the Kremlin's policy on Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula has significantly boosted public approval ratings of President Vladimir Putin, polls indicate.

Protesters at the heavily policed rally listened to speeches from activists, decrying state control of the media.

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