Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists call for Russian troops after deadly clash

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • In pictures: Good Friday celebrated across the globe

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

Sport

Putin allows designated protest zone at Sochi Olympics

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-04

As Russia gears up for the opening of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics next month, President Vladimir Putin repealed a blanket ban on protests during the Games on Saturday, bowing to pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Russia had initially banned any political protests in the Russian Black Sea resort city during the Olympics as part of a broader security crackdown. Putin, however, has now signed a presidential decree allowing demonstrations and marches at sites approved by Sochi city officials, regional police and security forces.

The decree, published on the Kremlin's website, also allows officials to set limits on how many people can take part in protests during the Games, which run from February 7 to 23.

The move comes months after Putin issued a decree in August forbidding demonstrations over issues unrelated to the Games from being held inside the tightly controlled security zone. The draconian measure was to take effect on January 7 and last until March 21, after the city hosts the Paralympic Games.

The IOC on Saturday praised the decision, saying that it came after Putin promised the committee last year that he would relax rules on protests.

"We welcome this announcement - it is in line with the assurances that President Putin gave us last year and part of the Russian authority's plans to ensure free expression whilst delivering safe and secure Games," the IOC said in a statement.

IOC President Thomas Bach said in December that the Russian organisers had agreed to allow a "protest zone" at the Games after discussions with the committee.

Putin has ordered organisers and regional officials to select a single location in the city where protesters would be able to gather "freely", his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the RIA Novosti news agency.

"The president charged the Olympic Games' organisers along with the leadership of the Krasnodar region and Sochi city hall with picking out a spot in the city where it would be possible to freely hold actions, rallies and other events – including if necessary protests," Peskov said.

Putin is currently in Sochi where he is inspecting the Olympic sites. On Saturday he viewed rehearsals of the opening ceremony whose details are being kept strictly under wraps. Journalists were barred, Russian news agencies reported.

US President Barack Obama and European leaders including British Prime Minister David Cameron have announced they will not attend the opening ceremony amid concerns over Russia's rights record and particularly a recent law banning "homosexual propaganda".

The authorities in other Russian cities including Moscow regularly instruct organisers of political protests to move events away from central areas and limit the number of participants. Limiting protests to a single location would go beyond the usual restrictions, however.

Russia is introducing extremely strict security measures during the Games, including drone surveillance, limited transport access to the city and the monitoring of the phone records of athletes and journalists accredited to the event.

Fears of a possible attack during the Games were heightened by two suicide bombings last month in the southern city of Volgograd, a transport hub 700 kilometres (400 miles) from Sochi.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-01-04

  • RUSSIA

    Second deadly blast hits Russian city of Volgograd

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Russian train station hit by deadly suicide bombing

    Read more

  • USA

    Obama sends gay icon Billie Jean King to Sochi games

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)