Protests over Russian clampdown on internet use


Moscow: Thousands of people took to the streets of Moscow and two other cities on Sunday to rally against Russia's recent move to enforce tighter internet restrictions. What ensued was one of the biggest protests in the Russian capital in years.

Lawmakers inform that the restrictions have come as a necessary measure to prevent foreign elements from meddling in Russia's affairs. Critics claim that the restrictions could also be used to stifle dissent.

While an official statement from Moscow Police says that about 6,500 people participated in the protest, other sources put that number as high as 15,000.

Russia has in recent years attempted to curb internet freedom by blocking access to certain websites and messaging services. The new bill heard in Russian parliament in February seeks to route the nation's web traffic and data through points controlled by the state and proposes building a national Domain Name System to allow the internet to continue functioning even if the country is cut off from foreign infrastructure.

This new move is seen as part of a drive to increase Russian “sovereignty” over its internet space and comes against the backdrop of allegations that US presidential elections was rigged by foreign elements, Russia in particular.

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