Today Vladimir Putin will for a third time take office as Russian president. At the same time he is facing protests against his command over political affairs in Russia.
“Police on Sunday used batons and charging tactics to break up an anti-Putin rally in the centre of Moscow which had been sanctioned by the authorities but had descended into chaos,” reported British The Telegraph. The opposition leader Boris Nemtsov on his home page nemtsov.ru wrote that “according to the Interior Ministry in Moscow 436 people were arrested”, though the opposition claims that the list is much longer: about 650 detainees. Three key leaders of the protest movement were arrested: anti-corruption campaigner and blogger Alexei Navalny, liberal politician Boris Nemtsov and left-wing leader Sergei Udaltsov. Nemtsov was released after being sentenced to pay a fine. The other two opposition leaders are still imprisoned.
The Moscow Times reported that seventeen people needed medical care for injuries sustained during the event, a hospital source told Interfax. “The violence came at the end of a day of protests in several cities against Putin, who will be sworn in at a lavish ceremony inside the Kremlin at which the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, will bless him” wrote Reuters.
Moscow City Hall had given approval for 5,000 participants to take part in the march and rally on Sunday. Moscow Times reported that the police said 8,000 demonstrators passed through the metal detectors set up at the start of the march route, “but people could reach Bolotnaya Ploshchad via an alternative route. Organizers estimated that there were as many as 100,000 protesters on hand. Udaltsov said, on air to Kommersant-FM radio from the Yakimanka police station, that organizers had not expected such a high turnout”.
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