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Jun 01, 2020 PRINT EDITION
World

Russia blocks website opposing Putin's constitution reform

Russian authorities have blocked an opposition website that encouraged the public to speak up against constitutional changes that will allow President Vladimir Putin's to extend his grip on power.

March 13, 2020

Russian authorities have blocked an opposition website that encouraged the public to speak up against constitutional changes that will allow President Vladimir Putin's to extend his grip on power.
The Russian leader proposed sweeping changes to the constitution in January and this week agreed to a last-minute proposal to reset his constitutional term-limit clock to zero, allowing him to stay in power until 2036.
Russia's opposition groups led by top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny had long accused the 67-year-old leader of trying to cling to power for life. On Thursday, a website set up to protest the constitutional changes was blocked, an opposition activist said.
"The site of a campaign against introducing changes to the Constitution net2020.ru has just been blocked by Roskomnadzor," Andrei Pivovarov said, referring to the state communications watchdog. He said the watchdog pulled the plug on the website following a ruling of Moscow's Tagansky district court.
A court spokeswoman confirmed to AFP the site had been blocked but declined further comment. "Such nervous reaction means we are on the right track," Pivovarov said. He said the campaign dubbed "Nyet!" - which means 'no' in Russian - will continue. Kremlin critics have called on the public to protest against changing the constitution even before the Russian president revealed his intentions in the speech in parliament on Tuesday.
More than 50,000 people have signed a "manifesto" saying the authorities were pushing through a "constitutional coup". Both chambers of Russian parliament backed the amendments that also include stipulations banning gay marriages and protecting "historic truth" about Russia's role in World War II. The amendments will be put to a public vote on April 22.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2020