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Thousands of Russians march in honor of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov

By Daniel Uria   |   Feb. 27, 2016 at 12:42 PM

MOSCOW, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Russians marched through Moscow on Saturday to honor the anniversary of political opposition leader Boris Nemtsov's death.

Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, was shot four times in the back while crossing Moskvoretsky Bridge on Feb. 27, 2015. His supporters believed he was killed due to his strong opposition of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nemtsov was set to lead a protest against Putin a day after his death.

Tens of thousands of mourners remembered Nemtsov on Saturday by holding a ceremonial march near the scene of his death.

"We're here to show we aren't scared, that we'll continue the fight for a new democratic Russia, which is what Boris Nemtsov died for," opposition lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov, 36, told the Wall Street Journal.

Police guarded the blocked off road as observers placed flowers, photographs and other gifts at the scene.

Supporters have tried to maintain a shrine to Nemtsov on the bridge where he was shot, despite efforts by vandals and local authorities to have it removed. Activists also circulated a petition to have the bridge named after Nemtsov.

The public was prohibited from crossing the bridge, but U.S. Ambassador John Tefft was allowed to place a wreath with a ribbon that read: "From the American people."

"We are here today to honour his memory, the values for which he stood and to express our hope for the future that some of the dreams that Boris Nemtsov had will come true in Russia," he said.

Five Chechen men suspected of being contract killers face trial later this year in Nemtsov's death.

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