Dozens detained as protesters say 'sick of Putin'

2017-04-30 06:14
(Alexei Nikolsky, AP)

(Alexei Nikolsky, AP)

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Moscow - Police detained over 100 activists in Saint Petersburg on Saturday as hundreds of Russian opposition supporters turned out to protest against President Vladimir Putin's expected candidacy in elections next year.

Protests in several cities were called by the Open Russia movement founded by arch-Putin foe and former oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

They were held under the slogan "We're sick of him" - a reference to Putin.

About 200 people gathered in central Saint Petersburg for an unauthorised demonstration.  A report said more than 110 protesters were hauled away by riot police.

"Police officers ended the actions... of 100 people who continued to trouble the public order," the Saint Petersburg police said, without confirming if they had been arrested.

"Putin is an usurper. He has to finally go. We're sick of him," said one of the protesters, 35-year-old Anton Danilov.

"Everything is bad. Education, health -- everything has been destroyed. I want changes," said Galina Abramova, 57.

A similarly sized protest in Moscow remained peaceful as activists gathered at the offices of Putin's administration and handed in petitions against his expected candidacy in 2018.

Putin has not tipped his hand on whether he will seek a fourth term as president in the election scheduled for March 2018.

The protests came after opposition leader Alexei Navalny organised the largest unauthorised rally of recent years in Moscow on March 26. Police detained around 1 000 people, including Navalny.

Navalny has announced his plan to stand for president in 2018 and has galvanised the splintered opposition movement with a powerful online campaign including videos exposing corrupt officials. He has called for another protest on June 12.


Read more on:    vladimir putin  |  russia

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