Monday, April 16, 2007

Opposition Rally in Russia Halted by Police for 2nd Day - New York Times 

Opposition Rally in Russia Halted by Police for 2nd Day - New York Times

The winds of frustration are swirling around Vladimir Putin.

Organizers of the rallies, including the former chess champion Garry Kasparov, who was arrested Saturday and later released, call them “dissenters’ marches.” They have been supported by people with diverse political views who say they are standing up for their right to oppose Mr. Putin. The groups taking part include the National Bolshevik Party of the novelist Eduard Limonov, which is known for its acts of civil disobedience and which has been banned by the government as an extremist group.

The Other Russia alliance had applied for a permit for the Moscow march but was refused. The alliance defied the ban, as it did for both marches in St. Petersburg and one in the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod in March.

On Saturday in Moscow, Mr. Kasparov was arrested in a cafe before the rally even began. He was held until late Saturday evening, accused of shouting antigovernment slogans. He was eventually released and fined 1,000 rubles, or about $39.

Riot police officers tugged at the clothing of Mikhail M. Kasyanov, Mr. Putin’s former prime minister and now an opposition leader, but did not arrest him. His bodyguards were arrested. The police also detained Maria Gaidar, a daughter of a former prime minister, and Ilya Yashin, the leader of the youth wing of the Yabloko opposition party.

In St. Petersburg on Sunday, the police said they arrested 120 people. Among those held was Mr. Limonov, who was arrested in an apartment together with eight members of his group.



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