Monday, Dec 15, 2008
Russian authorities arrested Sunday at least 150 people taking part in opposition demonstrations in Moscow and St Petersburg organised by former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, police said.
Police spokesmen said about 90 people were detained in Moscow and 60 in St Petersburg for attempting to take part in unauthorised demonstrations.
Hundreds of anti-riot police packed Triumfalnaya Square in central Moscow — surrounding it with trucks and metal barriers — to stop the rally from going ahead. Dozens of people were detained and forced into police buses, AFP reporters said.
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A Kasparov spokeswoman, Lyudmila Mamina, said the Kremlin critic had tried but been unable to reach the square for the protest because of the police presence.
“He is now at home but the road outside is now blocked by police,” she told AFP.
Kasparov and other activists had planned the “Dissenters’ March” a day after they launched a new opposition group, Solidarity, and vowed to “dismantle” the regime of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.