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Police disperse anti-Putin protesters

Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 01:39

May 17 - Russian riot police detain at least 20 demonstrators in a crackdown on an anti-Putin sit-in in central Moscow. Sarah Sheffer reports.

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Russian police detain at least 20 protesters at a Moscow 'sit-in' against the newly inaugurated President Vladimir Putin. The Occupy-style demonstration - in one of the capital's main squares - began a week ago after a violent protest on the day of Putin's inauguration. The number of protesters has fluctuated from between a few dozen to as many as 2,000. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PROTESTER ALEXEI SAKYERTO, SAYING: "I saw how the riot police took people away, how people tried to fight back. It seemed to me to be pretty harsh. We saw a huge chunk of hair laying here right on the asphalt, but we didn't see anything else - we just saw how they took people away harshly." Protesters vowed not to give up. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PROTESTER POLINA, SAYING: "We can't let the authorities realise that we're tired and we want to go home and not do anything. We want to show that we will always come out - every day - while our demands are not heard and we don't get fair authority and fair elections, because if we stop coming here, then, as they say, the protest fade out." The sit-in is the newest manifestation of a protest movement sparked last year after activists claimed election fraud in a vote that gave the Kremlin-backed United Russia Party a slim majority in parliament. Some in Russia fear that Putin's return to presidency will perpetuate economic and political stagnation. Sarah Sheffer, Reuters

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Police disperse anti-Putin protesters

Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 01:39