Riot police in the Russian capital, Moscow detained opposition politician Boris Nemtsov and dozens of others during protests on Tuesday, according to a delegation of European Union officials.
The protesters chanted: 'Russia without Putin!'
European Union officials in Moscow on Tuesday said they witnessed the arrest and detention of former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, along with dozens of others who had gathered to protest against the government of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Police dragged protesters through the crowd on Triumph Square and shoved them into buses, carrying some who tried to resist or twisting their arms behind their backs.
About 70 people were detained in Moscow, police spokesman Viktor Biryukov said at the scene. In St. Petersburg, around 50 people were detained on the main street, Nevsky Prospekt, and 15 more at a protest on the imperial-era capital's Palace Square.
Heudi Hautala, who heads the European Parliament's subcommittee Human Rights, said she and her colleagues saw "no good from the side of the police."
The 31st of the month has brought protesters out onto the streets
Activists said police dragged Nemtsov from the square away after he started handing out copies of a report criticizing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Dozens of protesters reportedly chanted "Russia without Putin!"
Tuesday's rally was the latest series of anti-government demonstrations organized by the Russian opposition. Rallies were called on the 31st day of previous months as well, a nod to the 31st Article of the Russian constitution, which guarantees the right of assembly.
Most of those protests have also been banned by authorities and violently dispersed by police.
Author: Gabriel Borrud (Reuters/AP)
Editor: Chuck Penfold