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Moscow police say over 12,000 activists took to the streets supporting a ban on American adoptions of Russian orphans – over 80 public organisations and associations supported the rally.
The march was triggered by the recent death of three-year-old Max Shatto (Maxim Kuzmin), a Russian orphan adopted in the US who died in Texas, shortly after being adopted by an American couple.
Though American authorities claim the boy died of natural causes, West Texas authorities ruled out his death being an accident.
The activists supporting the decision to ban US citizens from adopting the Russian orphans demand his brother Kirill be returned to Russia.
Protesters also insisted on extending the ban on US citizens adopting Russian children to all foreigners.
Protesters marched from Gogolevsky Boulevard to Novopushkinsky Garden in central Moscow, chanting “Children are not goods” and “Bring Kirill back to his motherland”.
They had pictures of the Russian children who have died in the US because of purported ‘negligence of adopted parents’.
According to official statistics, over 60,000 Russian children have been adopted in the US since the early 1990’s and 20 of them have died under the care of adopted parents.
In a separate rally, hundreds of people also marched from Strastnoy Bulvar towards Prospekt Akademika Sakharova in defence of the social and political rights of Muscovites.
Those marching expressed contempt for rising utility prices to low pensions and student stipends.
The rally organised by the opposition figure Sergei Udaltsov, who is currently under house arrest, called for “putting Moscow back under the control of its citizen”.
Police said some 500 people had attended, while the Moscow-based Ekho Moskvy radio station put the number at around 2,000.