Police arrest opposition leaders at anti-Putin rally
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
AFP photoRussian police on Saturday arrested top opposition leaders at an anti-Vladimir Putin rally in central Moscow attended by hundreds of people in defiance of a ban by the authorities.
Police arrested Ilya Yashin, a leading figure in the Solidarity movement as well as TV presenter Ksenia Sobchak, Yashin said on Twitter. "Came with Ksenia Sobchak for a stroll on the Lubyanka Square. The police decided we were too cold and put us into a detention van," Yashin wrote with heavy irony on Twitter.
Television pictures broadcast by pro-opposition channel Dozhd (Rain) also showed police arresting Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov. According to an AFP correspondent, hundreds of people were attending the rally in Lubyanka Square despite freezing temperatures of minus 14 degrees Celsius and a police ban.
They laid flowers at the Solovetsky Stone, one of the few memorials in the Russian capital to the victims of brutal political repression and purges of Soviet times.
The Lubyanka Square has particular resonance in Russia as the seat of the FSB security services in the same feared building that housed the KGB and was the scene of numerous executions in Soviet times.