Hundreds protest in Moscow against reforms that could keep Putin in power

MOSCOW: Hundreds protested in central Moscow on Wednesday (Jul 15) against constitutional reforms introduced earlier this month that give President Vladimir Putin the option to remain in power for another 16 years, a Reuters witness said.

About 500 demonstrators, many of whom wore face masks branded with the word "no", chanted calls for Putin to resign and held up banners against the reforms, surrounded by police.

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A vote earlier this month amended Russia's constitution, handing Putin the right to run for two more presidential terms, an outcome the Kremlin described as a triumph.

Opposition activists say the vote was illegitimate and that it's time for Putin, who has ruled Russia for over two decades as president or prime minister, to step down.

"I came here to sign the petition against the constitutional reforms because I am a nationalist," said one 40-year old man in a black t-shirt as protesters chanted "Putin is a thief".

Fourteen-year old Vasilisa said she also signed the petition because "(Putin) is to blame for the poverty in our country".

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