Hundreds of anti-Putin protesters held

2012-03-06 09:03
One of the detained Other Russia movement activists who tried to hold an unsanctioned protest outside the central election commission shouts from a police bus in central Moscow. (Kirill Kudryavtsev, AFP)

One of the detained Other Russia movement activists who tried to hold an unsanctioned protest outside the central election commission shouts from a police bus in central Moscow. (Kirill Kudryavtsev, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Moscow - Russian police arrested over 500 people protesting Vladimir Putin's crushing victory in elections that the opposition denounced as illegitimate and international monitors said were skewed.

Western powers reacted warily to the prospect of Putin returning in a May inauguration to the Kremlin for a six-year term from his current job as premier, urging a full investigation into the reports of violations.

Police said they arrested 250 people in Moscow and 300 in Saint Petersburg on Monday after moving in roughly to break up rallies claiming that the polls the previous day were rigged.

Around 20 000 anti-Putin protestors turned out in Pushkin Square in central Moscow chanting "Russia Yes! Putin No!" Most of the rally broke up peacefully but police moved in to disperse hundreds of people who refused to leave the square.

Amid frantic scenes, they arrested dozens by dragging them to waiting police vans, an AFP correspondent said.

Among those arrested were Russian anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny, seen in some quarters as a possible future rival to Putin, and two other opposition leaders, Sergei Udaltsov and Ilya Yashin.

Rough arrests

"People were calm, but at some point police started moving in, kicking people, tearing their clothes," Yashin told independent Dozhd TV from the police van by phone.

Moscow police also roughly arrested dozens of protesters at a separate unsanctioned event near the central election commission, including the leader of the Other Russia radical opposition group Eduard Limonov.

An AFP reporter saw similar police action at an unauthorised meeting in Putin's native Saint Petersburg and a local police spokesperson quoted by Russian news agencies said a total of 300 people had been detained.

The protests came after official results showed Putin won just under 64% of Sunday's ballot to win back the Kremlin seat he held for the maximum two terms from 2000-2008 before his four-year stint as prime minister.

His Communist Party challenger Gennady Zyuganov refused to recognise the results after winning just 17% while the billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov sprang a surprise to finish third despite building his base from scratch.

Election-rigging claims have shadowed these polls just as they had done at parliamentary elections in December that were followed by three months of the biggest anti-Kremlin demonstrations since Soviet times.

Skewed conditions

"Our aim is elections within the year. Otherwise revolution is inevitable," said Putin's former prime minister turned bitter Kremlin critic Mikhail Kasyanov.

Putin's fans earlier staged their own highly-choreographed rally in front of the Kremlin that the city estimated at 15 000 strong, and which included a call to "protect our victory".

International observers led by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said the campaign had been massively tilted in Putin's favour and was followed by major irregularities in the vote count.

"Conditions [for the campaign] were clearly skewed in favour of... Vladimir Putin" while the vote count was "assessed negatively in almost one-third of polling stations observed due to procedural irregularities", they said.

Russia's independent monitoring group Golos published a report that showed Putin winning less than 51% and said the polls "were neither free nor fair".

The West gave a wary greeting to the comeback of the man who has often pursued an antagonistic foreign policy.

Reaction

The US State Department said it looked forward to working with Putin once election results are certified but urged the authorities to probe voting irregularities.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told Putin by phone that he would work with him to overcome differences between the two countries.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy congratulated Putin, while urging him to "continue democratic and economic modernisation".

Earlier French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe gave a cool reaction to Putin's return to the Russian presidency, saying the election "was not exemplary" but accepting that his controversial victory was not in doubt.

- SAPA
Read more on:    david cameron  |  nicolas sarkozy  |  vladimir putin  |  russia  |  russia protests
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.