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At least 200 people detained in Moscow for unsanctioned actions

March 06, 2012, 0:45 UTC+3

Thus, about 100 people, including Alexei Navalny, Sergei Udaltsov and Ilya Yashin, were detained for an illegal action in Pushkin Square

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MOSCOW, March 6 (Itar-Tass) — Various opposition rallies that were staged in downtown Moscow on Monday evening ended with numerous detentions. One of the actions began with an authorised rally in Pushkin Square. The city’s law enforcement bodies told Itar-Tass that at least 200 people were detained for participating in unsanctioned events.

Thus, about 100 people, including opposition Alexei Navalny, Sergei Udaltsov and Ilya Yashin, were detained for an illegal action in Pushkin Square. At 21:00, Moscow time, a sanctioned rally For Fair Elections ended there, which gathered about 14 thousand people. Speaking at it, leader of the Left Front Sergei Udaltsov said he would not leave Pushkin Square until Vladimir Putin quits politics. According to preliminary data, Putin has won the presidency for a 6-year term.

In the end, after the rally Udaltsov and his associates, including Yashin and Navalny, who called for peaceful street protests, refused to disperse. Police have repeatedly urged the people to disperse and descend to the Metro, warning that otherwise force would be used, but the oppositionists continued to chant anti-Putin slogans. After that the dispersal of the protest action started, and eyewitnesses claim that the special forces and riot police acted very harshly.

As a result, 100 people were brought to police stations, preliminary reports suggest.

In addition, a group of nationalists attempted to perform an unauthorised march in Tverskaya Street towards Triumfalnaya Square. This provocation was immediately stopped by police who detained about 20 people. However, a policeman was hurt during the detention.

Another group of nationalists of 16 people was detained in Nikitskaya Street. “Presumably, among them there are those who beat up a representative of Echo of Moscow Radio. Traffic police officers who came to the rescue in time helped him,” the city police reported.

Another unauthorised rally was stopped in the area of the Mayakovskaya Metro station, where those who protested in Pushkin Square went. Some of them even blocked traffic in Tverskaya Street for some time. About ten people were detained there.

More than 50 people who tried to organise an unsanctioned rally near the Central Election Commission (CEC) building, were arrested in Lubyanka Square. Among the detained were leader of the Other Russia movement Eduard Limonov and a nationalist leader Dmitry Demushkin.

Monday’s situation in Pushkin Square almost fully repeated the incident in Chistoprudny Boulevard in Moscow on December 5, 2011. Then, after an authorised rally, opposition activists after calls to “walk to the CEC” headed towards Lubyanka Square, blocking the roadway. They also ignored the demands of the police to disperse, and as a result, dozens of people were detained, including Yashin and Navalny.

Five days later – on December 10 – a many thousand strong rally For Fair Elections gathered in Bolotnaya Square, which ended without incidents.

On Monday, the rally For Fair Elections in Pushkin Square that was allowed by the Moscow authorities also passed without incidents and in a fairly relaxed atmosphere. About 14 thousand people attended it. However, after that Udaltsov and his companions announced an indefinite protest action and refused to leave the square, calling on the event participants to follow their example.

Detentions for unauthorised rallies were also made in St. Petersburg - more than 300 people were taken to police stations there.

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