Opposition leaders expressing frustration with the third term won by Russian President Vladimir Putin took to the streets Tuesday in Moscow on Russia Day, a commemoration of constitutional reforms in 1990.
Rain soaked the tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the streets, forcing most of them indoors. Russian opposition lawmaker Ilya Ponomaryov accused the government of manipulating the weather.
"An anomalously high" level of silver iodide was allegedly found in rainwater Tuesday, he was quoted by The Guardian newspaper in London as saying.
Silver iodide, when seeded into clouds, can induce rain. The London newspaper, however, reports that Moscow has a tradition of using chemicals in the air during national holidays to cause rain clouds to disperse.
Frustration with Putin is running high. His re-election in May was viewed by his opponents as fraudulent. Similar concerns were expressed following State Duma elections last year. Putin-backed United Russia emerged victorious in those elections.