Opposition supporters detained in Moscow: Report

Moscow police detained several dozen opposition activists who tried to stage a "people`s stroll" through the city.

Moscow: Moscow police detained several dozen opposition activists who tried to stage a "people`s stroll" through the city on Wednesday.

The report cited an unidentified law enforcement official as saying the arrests were made on Manezh Square adjacent to the Kremlin.

According to the report, opposition supporters wearing trademark white ribbons had earlier taken part in a rally by the Communist Party marking the Victory Day holiday, then called for the so-called "people`s stroll."

Police could not immediately be reached for further comment.

Moscow police have taken a hard line against opposition members this week, beginning with the detention of hundreds at a rally on the eve of President Vladimir Putin`s Monday inauguration.

More detentions occurred on inauguration day and on yesterday, when protesters who took over a Moscow square for an impromptu rally were dispersed by police and moved on to another square.

Two of the opposition`s most prominent leaders, Sergei Udaltsov and Alexei Navalny, were arrested late yesterday and remained in custody today. A lawyer for Udaltsov, Nikolai Polozov, said both face charges of failing to obey police orders that carry a maximum penalty of 15 days in jail.

The wave of massive protests that broke out in Moscow after December`s fraud-marred parliamentary elections had been marked by little interference from police.

Demonstrators, whose numbers sometimes appeared to exceed 100,000, stuck carefully to approved venues and march routes; police presence at these rallies was extensive but restrained.

However, police have taken swift and sometimes brutal action to break up unauthorized demonstrations.

PTI

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