Russian President Vladimir Putin has lifted a ban on public protests during the Olympics opening next month in Sochi, four months after signing an order banning demonstrations during the winter sports event, RIA Novosti reports.
Rally organizers still need to receive police approval on the number of participants, location or marching route, and time interval before going ahead with demonstrations during the Olympic period from January 7 through March 21, according to the Kremlin’s statement on Saturday.
The Olympic extravaganza will last just over five weeks, with the opening ceremony scheduled for February 7 and the Paralympics drawing to a close March 16.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that in practice, local organizers will work with city and regional authorities to pick a city square where rallies or protests could be held freely.
He said that the demonstrations will have to get approval from Sochi city officials as well as the regional Interior Ministry and security services.