Dozens detained in Russian New Year′s Eve protests | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 01.01.2011
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Dozens detained in Russian New Year's Eve protests

Police in Russia have detained at least 120 opponents of the government who took part in authorized protests on New Year's Eve. The regularly scheduled rallies take place at the end of certain months.

Russian woman next to a protest sign

Protestors braved the cold in Moscow

Police have detained at least 120 people in Moscow and St. Petersburg who were taking part in a regularly occurring, authorized protest.

The group of demonstrators, representing opposition to the Kremlin, schedule the protests for the end of months with 31 days, symbolizing Russia's right to assemble under the country's constitution.

Friday's demos were also in support of jailed Kremlin critic and former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whose jail term was extended by six years Thursday in what is seen by many in Russia and internationally as a politically-motivated trial.

Opposition leaders arrested

Among those arrested were several opposition leaders, including former first deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov. He was arrested when he broke through police lines around the protest.

Eduard Limonov, an opposition writer and leader of the National Bolshevik Party, was also detained by police as he and his supporters prepared to stage an unauthorized rally.

Later on, Limonov was sentenced to 15 days in prison for insulting a police officer, an allegation Limonov said was "a lie."

Until recently, authorities in Moscow had not granted permission for the opposition leaders to organize such rallies. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin changed his stance on the issue in October, but warned that anyone taking part in an unauthorized protest would face police action.

Author: Matt Zuvela (Reuters, AFP)
Editor: Ben Knight

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