Police detain 100 in anti-Putin protest | News | DW | 18.03.2012
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Police detain 100 in anti-Putin protest

Police arrested around 100 demonstrators who had gathered outside a TV station known as loyal to the Kremlin. They were angry about a documentary that portrayed anti-Putin protesters as paid agents of the West.

Russian police detained roughly 100 people protesting a documentary that claimed protesters critical of Vladimir Putin were paid to attend demonstrations.

"Anatomy of a protest," aired by NTV, said that opposition leaders planned to overthrow the government, and that migrant workers and others were being paid to attend recent protests against Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin. NTV is part of state-owned Gazprom.

Around 1,000 people took part in Sunday's protest, chanting "Shame on NTV" and "Russia without Putin," near Moscow's Ostankino television tower.

"Putin's most important weapons are lies and propaganda and they are just as effective at protecting him as police batons," said former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, just minutes before he was arrested.

Sergei Udaltsov, an opposition leader who had already been detained twice this month, was also detained on Sunday.

Cookies and fake money

Wearing the white ribbons that have become a symbol of anti-Putin rallies, protesters laid flowers, packets of biscuits and fake dollar notes outside the NTV studios, mocking claims that they were paid handsomely to come out in force against Putin.

"We're here to mourn the death of a free press in Russia," said Tanya Shahova. "We were never given any money - or cookies," her sister Natasha added.

The next large protest is scheduled for May 6, the day before Putin's inauguration. Putin's new term will extend his rule until 2018. He would be eligible to try for another term after that.

Putin was president of Russia from 2000-2008. Since then, he has served as prime minister. On March 4, he was elected president again.

ng/ncy (AP, Reuters)