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Thousands protest Russia's 'internet isolation'

AFP  |  Moscow 

Thousands of people rallied against Russia's increasingly Sunday which some say will eventually lead to "total censorship" and isolate the country from the

The mass rally in and smaller events in other cities across the country was called after the Russian lower house of parliament backed a bill to stop Russian from being routed on foreign servers, in a bid to boost cybersecurity.

The move was labelled by critics as the latest attempt to control under Vladimir Putin, with some fearing the country is on track to completely isolate its network like in

Activists counting people said more than 15,000 people have turned up to listen to internet and as well as music performers who have complained of government pressure in recent months.

"The government is battling freedom, including freedom on the internet, I can tell you this as somebody who spent a month in jail for a tweet," one of the rally speakers Sergei Boiko, an internet freedom activist from Siberia, said.

Police detained several people without explanation. An saw a man being dragged away by arms and legs near the entrance to the rally.

The popular Telegram messaging app, which Russian authorities have been unsuccessfully trying to block for many months, called on its users to attend the rally last week.

A message in Russian on its official account said that the bill on aims to "cut off from the rest of the world, after which they can block and messengers."

The goal of the bill is "total censorship," it said.

The bill has not yet been voted on in key second reading.

A petition against the bill launched by the Roskomsvoboda group calls on Russians to appeal to lawmakers to strike the bill down, "otherwise soon we will be living in anti-utopias of Orwell," it says.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 10 2019. 19:10 IST