Vladimir Putin's return to the presidency was marred by mass protests that turned violent as demonstrators clashed with riot police and hundreds were detained.
A day before Mr. Putin is to be sworn in for another six years, tens of thousands of demonstrators staged a march near the Kremlin in Moscow in protest against his comeback.
At least 50,000 turned out for a protest demonstration on Sunday even as authorities gave permission for only 5,000. Demonstrators chanted “Putin the thief”, “Down with Putin”, “We are the power”.
The march was peaceful until police blocked the protesters from crossing a bridge near the Kremlin. In response, opposition leaders launched a sit-in protest on the bridge and called on the crowd not to leave till Mr. Putin's inauguration is cancelled, the detained protesters are released and opposition is given airtime on federal TV channels.
Several demonstrators and police were injured as bottles and stones were hurled and police unleashed batons to break up the demonstration detaining at least 200 protesters, including several opposition leaders.
It was the latest in a series of large-scale anti-Putin rallies that took place in recent months, and the first one that resulted in violence.