Scores detained after Russian opposition event: rights group

Moscow (AFP) –


Russian police detained more than 100 people including a high-profile Moscow deputy after Kremlin critics gathered Wednesday to protest changes to the constitution, the OVD-Info monitor said.

The group, which tracks arrests at protests, said 103 people were detained late in the day. Many people including journalists were put in police vans, AFP correspondents reported from the scene.

Yulia Galyamina, a prominent Moscow city councillor who has spearheaded a campaign against President Vladimir Putin's controversial changes to the constitution, was detained together with her daughter, she said on Facebook.

Earlier on Wednesday, Galyamina and allies had gathered in Moscow's central Pushkin Square to collect signatures from hundreds of supporters against this month's constitutional reforms to contest them in court.

They collected roughly a thousand signatures during an event that was not authorised by Moscow authorities.

A large group of mostly young activists later split off and marched down central Moscow streets, where many were detained.

People in Pushkin Square said they turned up to protest changes championed by Putin who is now allowed to remain in the Kremlin until 2036.

"I voted against," said Inna Golovina, a 46-year-old accountant who came to the square. "People say the results were rigged."

Protesters chanted slogans such as "Russia without Putin" and "Russia will be free."

Hundreds gathered for a similar event in the second city of Saint Petersburg.

"The authorities do whatever they want, people's opinion does not interest anybody," lamented Andrei Stepanov, 50.

"We need to show in some way that we are against this."