Thousands of Russians have joined hands to form a ring around Moscow city centre in protest against Vladimir Putin’s expected return as president in an election next week.

Protesters stood in a long line on Sunday, around the 16-km Moscow Garden Ring Road, wearing white ribbons that symbolise the biggest opposition protests since Putin rose to power 12 years ago.

Putin is all but certain to win the presidential election on March 4, but the growing protests have highlighted demands for greater democracy and openness from mainly urban voters fed up with widespread corruption and one-man rule.

Al Jazeera: Thousands attend anti-Putin rally in Moscow

See also: Russian prime minister counting on rural, less-educated voters as popularity slips ahead of March vote

See also:

Surpressed GQ article on Putin now available online and in Russian