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Sochi protest zone set far from Olympics arenas

Russia Sochi Torch relay jan 10.jpg

Dec. 28, 2013 - FILE photo of torch bearers, Marina Tartyshnaya, left, and Musa Galyamov during the Olympic torch relay in downtown Yoshkar-Ola, some 372 miles east of Moscow, Russia. (AP)

Russia has picked a spot where protests can be held during next month's Winter Olympics in Sochi and it is miles away from where the athletes will compete.

Dmitry Kozak, a deputy prime minister overseeing preparations for the games, said Friday that a park in the town of Khosta will serve as the "protest zone."

Khosta is on the Black Sea coast between the city of Sochi and the Olympic Park, about seven miles from the nearest arenas.

Russia is most likely to expect protests from critics of its anti-gay laws or other rights abuses.

The R-Sport news agency quoted Kozak as saying: "At the park in Khosta, people will be able freely to express their opinions without violating the rights of other citizens or the Olympic charter."