Moscow march in memory of murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov

By AP reporter

Thousands of people marched in central Moscow on Saturday in remembrance of a Russian opposition leader who was gunned down five years ago while walking on a bridge adjacent to the Kremlin.

The march also protested proposed changes to the Russian Constitution that opponents suspect are intended to give President Vladimir Putin a way to retain power once his term ends in 2024.

Protests carried placards with sayings such as “No to eternal Putin” and “No to the usurpation of power”.

Police said about 10,000 people took part in the march; a non-governmental organisation that counts attendance at political rallies estimated a turnout of 22,000.

A man lays flowers as a portrait of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov is seen at the place where he was gunned down five years ago (Pavel Golovkin/AP/PA)

Boris Nemtsov, one of Mr Putin’s most charismatic and energetic opponents, was shot to death on February 27 2015 as he walked on the bridge over the Moscow River.

An officer in the security forces of Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed leader was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing the shots that killed Mr Nemtsov. Four other men were sentenced to 11 to 19 years for involvement in the killing, but who organised and ordered the assassination has not been determined.

Demonstrations in Mr Nemtsov’s memory also took place on Saturday in other large cities across Russia, including St Petersburg, where about 2,000 people gathered, and in Novosibirsk and Vladivostok.

The arrest-monitoring organisation OVD-Info said five demonstrators were detained in St Petersburg but there was no immediate information on charges.

No detentions were reported in the Moscow march.