Putin says opposition protesters must abide by law

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after his meeting with President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinisto at the President's official residence Mantyniemi in Helsinki, Finland, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinisto, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a news conference at the President's official residence Mantyniemi in Helsinki, Finland, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

HELSINKI — Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned opposition protesters that they must abide by the law or face the consequences.

Speaking after Wednesday's talks with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Putin said "it's important that both protesters and law enforcement agencies observe Russian law." He added that the violators will face criminal punishment.

Russian officials' exclusion of some opposition and independent candidates from the Sept. 8 election to the Moscow city legislature has triggered a wave of protests. Some of the demonstrations weren't sanctioned by authorities and were violently dispersed by police, which arrested more than 2,400 people.

Putin argued that the opposition candidates were struck off the ballot over falsified signatures in their support. The candidates barred from the race rejected that claim, but the courts have ruled against them.

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