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About 600 people gather for opposition demonstration in Petersburg

December 16, 2012, 2:16 UTC+3

About 20 people from the second column were detained for public order violation

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ST. PETERSBURG, December 16 (Itar-Tass) —— About 600 people participated in the opposition's so-called March of Freedom in central St. Petersburg on Saturday, a city police source told Itar-Tass.

About 500 people were in the column of the Opposition Coordination Council, and about 100 were in the column of nationalists who went the same route 30 minutes later.

About 20 people from the second column were detained for public order violation.

Unlike the capital, where the negotiations between the city authorities and opposition activists on a demonstration route were stalled, the agreement with the administration was reached in St. Petersburg on the two processions. Local activists agreed on a compromise with the authorities with the aim to hold the demonstration in the central part of the city, but not on the outskirts, Coordination Council member Andrei Pivovarov explained.

According to the organizers, about 1,000 activists of various opposition organizations marched from the Gorkovskaya metro station to Marsovo Polye. Nevertheless, after the march, Pivovarov told Itar-Tass that apparently the format of protest actions was exhausted in St. Petersburg. Police forced the participants to go on the sidewalks, but not the road, though a march was allowed by the authorities. "We will abandon the format, since it is humiliating for people," he said.

In St. Petersburg, the demonstrators had no political symbols, but the columns had only Russian state flags and flags of the city. The slogans mainly called to stop the persecution of "political prisoners", defendants over the Moscow Bolotnaya Square disorders, Navalny and others.

In Moscow, Coordination Council members Sergei Udaltsov, Ksenia Sobchak, Ilya Yashin and Alexei Navalny were detained on Saturday. About 40 people were detained for an attempt to hold an unsanctioned rally in the capital. All were released later.

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