Thousands of Russians Rally Against Adoption Ban
MOSCOW — Thousands of Russians marched Sunday to condemn the Parliament’s move to ban the adoption of Russian children by American families, an event called a “March Against Scoundrels.” The protesters chanted, “Take your hands off children,” and carried posters showing the faces of lawmakers stamped with the word “shame.”
Marchers flooded blocks of tree-lined boulevards on a bitterly cold day. The police estimated the turnout for the march, which was approved by the city’s authorities, at 9,500, but a group of activists told the Interfax news agency that about 24,000 people had shown up.
The sight gags and clever slogans of last year’s antigovernment rallies were absent on Sunday, and many of the marchers became emotional in talking about why they took part. Some questioned the morality of a ban on adoptions by Americans in a country where so many children are in foster care or orphanages.
“Even I can’t afford to adopt, and I’m supposedly middle class,” said Yekaterina Komissarova, 31, adding that perhaps the issue angered her so deeply because she is the mother of two children.
Another marcher, Tamara Nikolayeva, 62, nearly shouted as she accused Russian leaders of using orphans as pawns.