IOC's Bach: Russia to set up protest zones in Sochi during Olympics

Russian protesters of the country's anti-gay law clashed with police in September.
Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- IOC President Thomas Bach says Russian organizers have agreed to set up protest zones in Sochi during the Winter Olympics.

Bach says Sochi organizers notified him of the decision during their report to the International Olympic Committee executive board on Tuesday.

Bach says the Russians will establish designated areas for ''people who want to express their opinions or want to demonstrate for or against something.''

He says ''this is a measure we welcome so that everybody can express his or her free opinion.''

In August, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning ''gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets'' for 2 1/2 months in Sochi around the Olympics and Paralympics.

The ban is due to go into effect on Jan. 7, a month before the start of the games.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.