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Police stop unsanctioned rally in Astrakhan

April 10, 2012, 14:22 UTC+3

Police stopped some 70 people from coming to the building of the regional administration

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VOLGOGRAD, April 10 (Itar-Tass) — Police in Astrakhan stopped an unsanctioned protest march, whose participants demanded annulment of the results of the mayoral election.

One person has been detained. Police seized three tents which the protesters tried to put up in Kirov Square, regional police spokesman Pyotr Rusanov told Itar-Tass on Teusday.

"The man detained by police, climbed a street lamp post and damaged it. Police stopped some 70 people from coming to the building of the regional administration. A police helicopter is circling the center of the town," the spokesman said.

Earlier, a rally in support of Astrakhan's new mayor Mikhail Stolyarov was held. It was attended by 1,500 people; they've all dispersed by now; the situation is under control, according to Rusanov.

Leader of the local branch of A Just Russia Party Oleg Shein, who lost the March 4 mayoral election and announced hunger strike on March 16, claimed that some 400 persons continue their protest action in Kirov Square.

"The authorities have introduced a state of siege; police have blocked the center of Astrakhan," Shein told Itar-Tass by telephone.

"They did not let us into the building of the regional election commission and administration; we wanted to state our protest to the members of the election commission who signed the protocols of the mayoral elections which had been rigged," he said.

The mayoral election took place on March 4. Official news said Mikhail Stolayrov won the polls with 60 percent of votes. But exit polls results sharply contrasted with the official information.


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