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© RIA Novosti. Andrey Stenin

Thousands protest in Moscow against election results

by Yulia Ponomareva at 06/12/2011 18:08


A protest against the State Duma election results on Chistiye Prudy in Central Moscow on Monday evening saw up to 8,000 people gather to take part. Some of the protesters broke through the cordon made up of hundreds of riot police and marched to Lubyanskaya Ploshchad, where Central Election Committee headquarters are located.

By 9 pm the approximately 300 of the most active protesters were arrested, including some of the organizers and the rest dispersed Gazeta.ru reported.

Among those detained were nationalist anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and Solidarnost activist Ilya Yashin.

Thousands unhappy

The rally against rigged elections results took place around Griboyedov monument. According to those present, the election results were skewed in favor of United Russia, which received 49.39 percent of the vote, according to the Central Elections Commission. The rally was sanctioned by the authorities.

For the first time in many months in Moscow the number of journalists present at the rally was a lot smaller than the number of the protesters.

Organizers said some 20,000 protesters gathered, while eye-witnesses say about 8,000 people were present and police estimate that there were 2,000 protesters.

Actress Irina Vilkova, one of the 300 protesters arrested, said she was “just pulled out of the crowd together with 17 guys and put in a police bus.”

No charges were brought against Vilkova and the rest of the protesters, who spent three hours in detention. “I’ll certainly go to such rallies again, it’s only worked me up,” Vilkova told The Moscow News.

Many of the participants said it was their first rally. “It is the first time I am going to rally that I am not going to write about,” journalists were telling each other, Gazeta.ru reported.

Most protesters were young and middle-aged people, not belonging to any political parties or movements, and who learned about the campaign from the internet.

The rally’s guests included blogger Navalny, music critic Artemy Troitsky, Khimki forest activist Yevgenia Chirikova.

The police had to remove the metal detectors as there were too many people who wanted to join the demonstration. People gathered on the sidewalks and spilled out on the street, stopping the traffic in the area.

Blogger Alexei Navalny delivered to Moscow's Tverskoi Court

© RIA Novosti. / Andrey Stenin

Blogger Alexei Navalny, who was detained at an unauthorized protest downtown Moscow the night before, in Moscow's Tverskoi Court.


Russia without Putin

There were few flags and banners, and participants were chanting “Rossiya Bez Putina! Pozor! Konstitutsiya! Eto Nash Gorod.” (Russia without Putin! Shame! Constitution! It is our city!), Gazeta.ru reported.

There were fewer than normal police officers, but by the end of the rally Solidarnost’s Yashin urged the crowd to go to the election committee building on Lubyanskaya Ploshchad without any flags and chants.

Myasnitskaya Ulitsa leading to Lubyanskaya Ploshchad was blocked, but about a thousand protesters got through the barriers.

At this point riot police started detaining people, including Yashin, Navalny, Dozhd TV Channel reporter Ilya Vasyunin, The New Times editor in chief Ilya Barabanov.

Yashin was brought to Tverskoi District Court for a hearing Tuesday morning and later sentenced to 15 days in jail. The whereabouts of Navalny was unknown for most of Tuesday. Solidarnost activist Alexei Nekrasov said, however, that he had seen Navalny being brought to Tverskoi District Court late in the day.

“Alexei Navalny was brought to court in a police car with tinted windows after which he was escorted into the building,” Interfax quoted Nekrasov as saying on Tuesday.


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