The mass of the internet freedom rally in Moscow

More than 7,000 people have gathered in Moscow to defend internet freedom and condemning a Russian officer block in the encrypted messaging application Telegram.

Protesters placards that decried the state telecommunications watchdog, Rozkomnadzor.

On the 16th of April, began to deny access to Telegram, but his action also hit Google, Amazon and some other network address used by Telegram in Russian.

The block came after the Telegram had refused to hand over its encryption keys to Russia’s FSB spy service.

Russian intelligence chiefs say they need access to the messages sent by terrorists and criminals.

The crackdown has hurt some companies and an entrepreneur, Alexander Vikharev, is suing Roskomnadzor, BBC Russian reports.

The police estimated the crowd to be around 7,500, but an activist of the organization called White Counter, put the figure at 12,300.

“We’re not going to be silent!” and “Russia will be free!” protesters shouted.

The center of Moscow rally was organized by the federation of Libertarian Party. A previous pro-Telegram rally took place on the 22nd of April.

Under President Vladimir Putin the Russian state has taken control of the main TELEVISION channels and other media of communication, so that the voices of the opposition was principally confined to social media.

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It is in russia’s best known opposition activist Alexei Navalny spoke to the crowd. He has mobilized thousands of activists previously through social media, having made his name as an anti-corruption blogger.

“Our country is destitute, it is a poor country, where no one has future prospects. The only sector that has developed in the last few years by itself – without the state, or grants, or favors is the internet. And those people who say, “You’re behaving badly on the internet, so let’s eat it’. I’m not going to tolerate that,” he said.

A banner in which he said that “things are so bad that even the introverts are here”.

The inventor of Telegram Messenger application, Pavel Durov, praised the protesters through VKontakte, the Russian version of Facebook.

“Thousands of young people and progressive-minded people are now protesting in defense of the freedom of the internet in Moscow – this is unprecedented,” he wrote. “Your energy is changing the world.”