MOSCOW: Thousands of people holding hands have formed a 16-kilometer (10-mile) human chain encircling central Moscow in the latest protest against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Putin, who was president from 2000 to 2008, is running for a third term in the March 4 election. He is expected to win easily, but the unprecedented wave of protests has undermined his image as a strong leader who rules with broad public support.
Opposition activists estimated that they needed 34,000 people for Sunday's protest to complete the chain along the Garden Ring, and they appeared to have succeeded.
Putin supporters also were out on the Garden Ring on Sunday. They wore heart-shaped signs around their necks that said "Putin loves everyone."