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Sochi Olympics will have protest zones

Dec 10, 2013, 1:43 PM EDT

Fisht Olympic Stadium Getty Images

Specific areas for protests or demonstrations have been set aside for the Sochi Olympics by Russian Games organizers, the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday.

“People who want to express their opinions or want to demonstrate for or against something,” IOC president Thomas Bach said, according to The Associated Press. “This is a measure we welcome so that everybody can express his or her free opinion.”

Protest zones are standard for the Olympics, an IOC spokesman said.

“This was under discussion with the IOC for quite some time,” Bach said, according to Reuters.

In August, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning all “gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets” that are not part of the Olympics or the Paralympics from Jan. 7 to March 21.

In June, a law was passed banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors in Russia.

IOC finalizes letter reminding athletes not to protest in Sochi

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