Moscow: Thousands of anti-government protesters on Tuesday took to the streets against President Vladimir Putin's third term and demanded fresh polls in Russia.
Chanting slogans “Russia without Putin”, "Russia will be free", the protesters made their way down leafy boulevards from Moscow's central Pushkin Square.
Police put the numbers at around 18,000. However, opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov say the turnout at over 100,000.
It was the first mass rally after President Vladimir Putin signed a new law raising penalties for offences by protesters to 300,000 rubles (USD 9,000).
The protesters were responded to the heavy-handed tactics saying "No to 1937," referring to Stalin-era persecutions, and "Stop the repression, you are making us into revolutionaries."
Almost all the main leaders of the social network driven protest were absent as they were being questioned by investigators.
The protest came a day after police raided the homes of several prominent activists.
They searched the homes of the noted lawyer and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and television presenter Ksenia Sobchak.
Historic protests had gripped Moscow this winter.
First Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2012, 18:55