Police detain 60 at Moscow protest

AP News
Posted: Dec 31, 2011 11:30 AM
Police detain 60 at Moscow protest

Police detained 60 opposition activists on Saturday to prevent them from protesting on a central Moscow square against the Kremlin's stifling of democratic freedoms.

Some were detained as they approached the square and others were hustled onto police buses as soon as they began chanting against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. A banner they unfurled said "Death to Kremlin occupiers."

Organizers had not received permission to hold the protest, the latest in a series held at the end of every month with 31 days. The number corresponds with Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of assembly.

Small protests also were held Saturday in other Russian cities. These protests, led by the more radical opposition leaders, were separate from the demonstrations that have drawn tens of thousands to demand free elections and an end to Putin's rule.

Associated Press reporters and photographers saw at least 20 detained. Police said a total of 60 were rounded up. It was unclear whether they would be held overnight.