|05-31-2010, 03:57 PM||#1|
Curio & Relic
AKaholic #: 3738
Join Date: Apr 2005
Moscow police violently break up protest
MOSCOW – Police violently broke up an opposition protests in Moscow on Monday, detaining scores of people, two days after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russians should enjoy freedom of speech.
At least 500 people had gathered for the rally, which had not been authorised by the city authorities, on Triumfalnaya Ploshchad, in central Moscow on Monday evening.
Police violently broke up the protest and detained around 100 people, according to an AFP correspondent at the scene.
A Moscow police spokesman confirmed "a little over 100 people" were detained, citing preliminary figures.
The spokesman, Maxim Kolosvetov, added some 650 people participated, including 200 journalists.
Opposition activists said police was more violent than usual.
"OMON acted in a rough way, even more rough than usual," Ilya Yashin, a leader of the opposition group Solidarnost, said, referring to Russia's riot police.
"People were beaten, kicked, thrown into police wagons," he told AFP from a police station where he and his fellow activists were brought in.
Among the detained was a 84-year decorated World War II veteran, Vladimir Burtsev, said Yashin, adding the veteran did not feel well after he was detained and an ambulance had to be called out.
Kolosvetov, the police spokesman, said police acted in a rough manner to counter "provocations," including two smoke bombs being thrown into the crowd.
The protest came after Putin said on Saturday that the authorities should not "create impossible conditions for the expression of freedom of speech."
In a televised meeting Putin gave tentative support for opposition rallies but his spokesman Dmitry Peskov later said his comments were distorted in the media.
Opposition activists hold regular rallies on the 31st day of the month, protesting against restrictions on freedom of assembly, which is protected by article number 31 of the Russian constitution.
The Moscow authorities regularly refuse permission to hold the rallies on Triumfalnaya Ploshchad in central Moscow, saying the venue is being used for other events.
In Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg, some 300 activists, including top opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and Yury Shmidt, a lawyer for jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, gathered for an unsanctioned protest at the city's main Palace Square, an AFP correspondent reported.
The protest was peaceful and no one was detained.
Another 200 activists, including members of the banned National Bolshevik party, gathered at a different location in the city center as they shouted slogans like "Russia will be free." Around half of them were detained, witnesses told AFP.
Daraclor: A brand of anti-malaria pills which we had to drink every week while on the border. Legend had it that these would make you turn yellow and that you wouldn't be able to tan.
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