Russians marched on Moscow Sunday to commemorate the shooting death of an opposition leader killed two years ago after aggressively criticizing President Vladimir Putin.
Boris Nemtsov, Russia’s former deputy prime minister, was killed on Feb. 27, 2015, on a bridge outside the Kremlin. He was shot in the back while walking with his girlfriend. Five Chechen men are on trial for his murder, charges they deny.
On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators carried Russian flags and banners in Moscow. Some held cardboard Russian flags with bullet holes in them, according to the Associated Press. Others chanted “Russia will be free” and “Putin is war.”
“It’s very important that after two years people continue to come out and show their solidarity with the ideas for which Boris Nemtsov fought for and gave his life,” said Ilya Yashin, an opposition activist who was Nemtsov’s friend, to the Russian news agency Interfax.
During the march, opposition leader Mikhail Kasyanov was attacked by an unknown assailant who reportedly threw a green dye in his face. Several people who demonstrated were arrested by police.
Organizers put the number of protesters in the tens of thousands while Russian police said the number was closer to 5,000. Following the march, thousands of people laid flowers near the site of Nemtsov’s death.
Demonstrations also took place in other Russian cities, including St. Petersburg.