5 Jan 2014

Curbs on demonstrations eased at Sochi

5:29 am on 5 January 2014

President Vladimir Putin has eased curbs on demonstrations in the Winter Olympics venue of Sochi.

President Putin on skis near Sochi.

President Putin on skis near Sochi. Photo: RIA-NOVOSTI / AFP

Mr Putin has closely identified himself with the $US50 billion project. He made a surprise inspection of venues in the Black Sea resort on Friday and was shown on state television skiing down a slope in dark glasses and a helmet.

On Saturday, he attended a rehearsal of the Games opening ceremony in Sochi and amended a decree to allow groups to hold some marches and gatherings at sites approved by the security services.

However, limits can be placed on the number of people taking part in the demonstrations.

A special security regime will be in place in and around the city from 7 January - 21 March.

The BBC reports China imposed similar restrictions on protests for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Demonstrations were permitted in three designated city parks, subject to prior permission.

Two suicide bombers killed 34 people in the southern city of Volgograd on 29 and 30 December.