Jan. 13 - Russian opposition activists protest in Moscow and St. Petersburg against a new law banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans, dubbed the ''scoundrels' law''. Lindsey Parietti reports.
Thousands march across Moscow against a ban on American adoptions of Russian children. They carry pictures of the legislators who supported the law they say has turned orphans into political pawns. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) OPPOSITION LEADER GENNADY GUDKOVSAYING: "I disagree with this law, I think that the authorities now are in a state of hysteria, they are totally lost, they don't understand what to do with the country, for the country, for the people." President Vladmir Putin signed the bill into law last month following U.S. legislation denying visas to Russians accused of human rights violations. A legislative deputy at another rally in St. Petersburg criticized the ban. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) ST. PETERSBURG LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY DEPUTY MAXIM REZNIK, SAYING: "The decisions that are being made today by federal government are a bit sick from my point of view. Because they have reached such point of insanity or cynicism that a normal person simply can't stand aside and must protest against it." Lawmakers have said the ban is justified by the deaths of 19 Russian-born children adopted by Americans in the past decade. But protesters are pushing for its repeal. Americans have adopted more than 45,000 Russian children since 1999.