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Moscow riot police break up anti-Putin protest

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-31

Russian anti-riot police dispersed an unauthorised anti-government protest in Moscow on Saturday, detaining a dozen demonstrators. Thousands of Russians have taken to the streets since the federal elections controversially won by Putin's party.

AFP - Moscow riot police on Saturday arrested a dozen people, including radical opposition leader Eduard Limonov, who were trying to attend an unsanctioned New Year's Eve protest against the authorities.

Several of those detained wore white ribbons that represent the nascent protest movement's disagreement with the outcome of disputed parliamentary polls won by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling party, an AFP correspondent reported.

The rally was organised by the radical leftist leader and author Limonov, who has been arrested on repeated occasions at other unsanctioned end-of-month events marking the right to freedom of assembly.

Limonov told Echo Moscow radio that he had also been arrested again on Saturday and was now being driven to a police station.

Dozens of interior ministry trucks and police vans were stationed around the perimeter of central Moscow's Triumfalnaya Square ahead of the planned protest, and metal barriers were set up to stop people from occupying the site.

A similar number of people were detained at a separate unsanctioned event in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg, an AFP correspondent said.

Russia's Strategy 31 movement involved in the rallies tries to gather on the 31st day of every other month in honour of Article 31 of the constitution that prohibits the authorities from limiting people's movements.

It marked the first time that the police had detained members of the opposition since two massive rallies on December 10 and December 24 that had been sanctioned by the city authorities to avoid mass arrests.
 

Date created : 2011-12-31

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