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Russians march in protest of American adoption ban

On Sunday, about 20,000 protesters took part in a march in Moscow, protesting a new law supported by both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia's parliament, which bans Americans from adopting Russian children.

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Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, (foreground) speaks during a protest rally in Moscow, Russia, Sunday. Thousands of people are gathered in central Moscow for a protest against Russia's new law banning Americans from adopting Russian children. They carry posters of President Vladimir Putin and members of Russia's parliament who overwhelmingly voted for the law last month.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

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Thousands of people marched through Moscow on Sunday to protest Russia's new law banning Americans from adopting Russian children, a far bigger number than expected in a sign that outrage over the ban has breathed some life into the dispirited anti-Kremlin opposition movement.

Shouting "shame on the scum," protesters carried posters of President Vladimir Putin and members of Russia's parliament who overwhelmingly voted for the law last month. Up to 20,000 took part in the demonstration on a frigid, gray afternoon.

The adoption ban has stoked the anger of the same middle-class, urban professionals who swelled the protest ranks last winter, when more than 100,000 people turned out for rallies to demand free elections and an end to Putin's 12 years in power. Since Putin began a third presidential term in May, the protests have flagged as the opposition leaders have struggled to provide direction and capitalize on the broad discontent.

Opponents of the adoption ban argue it victimizes children to make a political point. Eager to take advantage of this anger, the anti-Kremlin opposition has played the ban as further evidence that Putin and his parliament have lost the moral right to rule Russia.

The Kremlin, however, has used the adoption controversy to further its efforts to discredit the opposition as unpatriotic and in the pay of the Americans.

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