Students Putin forward their message

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Oxford’s branch of Amnesty held a protest against human rights abuses in Russia on Saturday.

Over 70 students posed for photographs outside the Rad Cam holding messages to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The photos will be sent to him using an iPhone app called ByPost.

The event was timed to coincide with the Sochi Winter Olympics, which are set to begin in the country tomorrow.

Rose Brewin, a student at Christ Church and current President of Oxford University Amnesty International, said the event was a “huge success”.

“Putin himself will receive copies of all the photos we have taken, as we are using the iPhone app ByPost,” she said.

“This app turns digital photos into physical postcards and sends them anywhere in the world. They have kindly given us some free credits, to allow this campaign to take place.”

“The day was a huge success with 70 people joining us to protest against Russia’s new crackdown on human rights. We’ve also managed to raise awareness through the facebook page, with over 10,000 viewing the photos of the campaign,” she added.

Putin’s government has come under fire in recent months for introducing laws which Amnesty perceives to represent the denial of “basic freedoms”.

Some of the laws target LGBTQ groups, with Moscow Pride receiving a 100-year ban by the city courts in 2012. Almost 5000 people are believed to have been arrested after what the government called “unauthorised protests” in 2012-13.

Brewin said her branch of the organisation has more events planned for the term.

“Oxford University Amnesty International have events every week to campaign for the protection of human rights worldwide. On Wednesday of 6th week we’ll be hosting a Secret Policeman’s Comedy Night at the Wheatsheaf,” she said.


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