Moscow police detain 60 during anti-government protest
MOSCOW (BNO NEWS) — Russian police arrested at least 60 people in the capital of Moscow on Saturday during anti-government protests, the country’s RIA Novosti news agency reported on Sunday.
Around 300 people, including protesters and journalists, gathered at Moscow’s Triumfalnaya Square to participate in the opposition demonstration, which had not been authorized. Police later said “approximately 60” people were detained.
According to reports, police detained anyone who was carrying a placard or giving an interview to media correspondents. Firebrand writer and activist Eduard Limonov, the leader of the Other Russia movement, was one of those detained on Saturday.
About an hour before the protests, police parked about 40 buses and trucks around the square and closed off pedestrian access. Triumfalnaya is the regular venue for unsanctioned Strategy-31 protests held on the 31st of the month to highlight Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of assembly.
Sixty-eight people were detained at last year’s protest in Moscow, including opposition leaders Boris Nemtsov and Ilya Yashin.
Throughout December, huge demonstrations have taken place across the country to criticize the recent elections which they claim were rigged in favor of Vladimir Putin’s governing United Russia party. Some of the demonstrations have been the largest since the fall of the Soviet Union.
On December 4, Russia held parliamentary elections which many Russian voters and international observers said were marred by large-scale fraud. The ruling United Russia party won more votes than any of the other three parties, but it still suffered a significant drop from the two-thirds constitutional majority it has enjoyed for the past four years.