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Moscow riot police detain about 20 oppositionist rallyists in Moscow

May 16, 2012, 23:59 UTC+3

One of the leaders of the radical opposition, Ilya Yashin, was among the detainees

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MOSCOW, May 16 (Itar-Tass) — Omon riot police detained more than twenty people who were participating in an unauthorized action of the political opposition on in a small park on Kudrinskaya Square in downtown Moscow Wednesday night.

One of the leaders of the radical opposition, Ilya Yashin, was among the detainees.

Some of the protesters tried to block a specialized bus, which the Omon had put Yashin and other detainees to. They broke off a rear-view mirror of the bus and tied a garland of white hot-air balloons to what was left of it.

After that, the most active participants tried to block a narrow street leading towards the Garden Ring, one of the city's major roads located a few dozen meters away from the site, but the police addressed them over the PA with a request to return to the park.

MP Ilya Ponomaryov, who had come to the square somewhat earlier, asked to protesters to return to the park, too, saying that the Omon might otherwise disperse an improvized camp the activists had put up there earlier in the day.

An explanation for the detentions offered by the police suggested that a group of individuals had brought some food to the improvised camp Wednesday night in order to organize a field kitchen there. A police patrol reportedly approached them to check their IDs and to examine the documents for the foodstuffs.

Since the oppositionists presented no such documents, the policemen "invited" two people to a police department for "clearing out the circumstances". In response, a group of participants in the action surrounded the bus and broke off its rear-view mirror.

As the oppositionists practically blocked a crammed street leading to the Garden Ring, the police had to make further detentions.

By the time of reporting, the situation on Kudrinskaya Square stabilized and remained under police control. However, a part of the street leading from the Krasnopresnenskaya and Barrikadnaya metro stations to the Garden Ring was still closed for traffic.

The crowd that gathered for an action called "the assembly" in the park adjoining a famous Stalin-era high-rise apartment block -- one of the city's "seven sisters" -- totaled about 1,500 people closer to midnight. They were sitting on the asphalt, signing songs, giving public lecturers, and communicating with one another.

Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov said earlier in the day such action would be held in various parks and gardens in Moscow through to June 12.


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