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Updated: March 7, 2012 01:58 IST

Huge protests against Putin victory

Vladimir Radyuhin
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Police detain an activist of the Other Russia movement who tried to hold an unsanctioned protest in St. Petersburg on Monday. Photo: AFP
AFP
Police detain an activist of the Other Russia movement who tried to hold an unsanctioned protest in St. Petersburg on Monday. Photo: AFP

A new wave of protests against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's return as President has swept across Russia, challenging his claim that last Sunday's presidential election had “consolidated” Russian society.

Hundreds were detained in Moscow and St. Petersburg as riot police clashed with demonstrators protesting what they believe was a fraudulent election.

Mr. Putin won the election with over 63 per cent of the votes, but international monitors said the vote was “skewed” in his favour and Russian election watchdogs complained of numerous falsifications. Evidence of vote rigging sparked massive protests after parliamentary elections in December. Until now, however, the demonstrations were peaceful.

A protest rally in Moscow's Pushkin Square on Monday evening drew up to 20,000 people who chanted “Russia without Putin” and “Putin is a thief”.

The two-hour rally, allowed by authorities, proceeded peacefully, but after the main crowd dispersed several hundred activists stayed behind vowing to mount a permanent protest. Riot police moved in, kicking and dragging them off. At least one girl had her arm broken by police and 250 demonstrators were detained.

In St. Petersburg, about 3,000 people gathered for an unauthorised protest in front of the city legislature. Police broke up the rally arresting 300 demonstrators.

Cooperation sought

Shortly before police clashed with protesters, Mr. Putin met his defeated rivals, seeking cooperation.

“The main result of the election campaign is that it helped consolidate our society,” said Mr. Putin.

Protests rallies took place in several cities, including Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don and Nizhny Novgorod.

In Moscow the opposition plans to organise a protest march on March 10.

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Tipu - read about Jordan and then comment.

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Mar 8, 2012 at 14:51 IST

@Aritra: The west owns the "Blame factory" and they cast aspersions against democracies that are not subservient to their dictates. Does it not surprise you that they have never used the word "dictator" against King of Jordan?

from:  Tipu Qiamkhani
Posted on: Mar 7, 2012 at 22:57 IST

It's a wonder that so many have come out to protest. Putin is as big and as
merciless as Assad. So these comments about the 1000s who
protest as opposed to the 100s of 1000s who don't are shabby and
meaningless. Putin's main worry is that if he is forced out of the
Kremlin then all those who have been wounded, maimed, had their lives
shattered, their near and dear ones "disappeared" or killed, will not
spare him and his coterie. That's why he works so hard to retain power
as long as Providence doesn't overtake him.

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Mar 7, 2012 at 20:49 IST

I fail to understand the logic in media reporting. Reports saying 1000s are protesting are published is everyday. If a city has more than a million habitants, the authorities in the city cannot possibly justify catering to the 1000s who are protesting when there are 100s of 1000s who are NOT protesting. So why is this newsworthy?

from:  Prajwal
Posted on: Mar 7, 2012 at 14:58 IST
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