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Telegram March Kicks Off in Moscow

Mikhail Tereschenko / TASS

Thousands of free speech supporters have amassed in central Moscow in support of the Telegram messaging service. 

The Russian Libertarian Party announced a demonstration in support of the app in central Moscow on Monday after state regulators disrupted a variety of online services in their campaign to block Telegram.

Live coverage of the event is being broadcast via YouTube.

Over 10,000 people have gathered at the demonstration on Prospekt Sakharova, according to the crowd-counting service White Counter. Gatherers brought paper planes, a logo of the app, of various sizes and placards bearing slogans against censorship.

“Off with Roskomnadzor,” party chairman Sergei Boiko said at the start of the meeting, referring to the state regulator that had blacklisted more than 14 million IP addresses in an effort to block Telegram.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was allowed in after a brief encounter with police officers who, according to his spokeswoman, attempted to serve him a warning against holding his own anti-inauguration rally on March 5.

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