Russian police detain over 400 at anti-Putin protests: monitors

Russian police detain over 400 at anti-Putin protests: monitors

MOSCOW – Agence France-Presse 
Russian police detain over 400 at anti-Putin protests: monitors

Russian police detained more than 400 activists across the country on Nov. 5 for holding unauthorized protests against President Vladimir Putin, a monitoring group said.     

The demonstrations took place after radical opposition politician Vyacheslav Maltsev appealed on his website for supporters to hold protests across the country, calling for a “people’s revolution” to end “Putin’s tyranny”.

According to OVD-Info, a rights group that monitors detentions at Russian political protests, 412 arrests were made overall, with 376 in Moscow and 13 in Saint Petersburg.

It added that officers from the powerful Investigative Committee, which probes serious crime, were questioning detainees at various police stations.

Moscow police said previously they had detained 263 people “for breaches of public order”.

Many of those detained were carrying knives, knuckledusters and pistols that can fire rubber bullets, TASS state news agency reported.

AFP photographer said police, some in helmets and bulletproof vests, picked up the protesters one by one in central Moscow close to the Kremlin. Police then detained activists on another central square, TASS reported.

A reporter for popular Echo of Moscow radio station, Andrei Yezhov, wrote on Twitter that he was detained, but later released without charge.

Meanwhile the Bolshoi theatre, along with major Moscow shops and hotels, were evacuated after a series of bomb alerts in the Russian capital on Nov. 5, local news agencies reported.

In all 10,000 people were evacuated, the Interfax news agency reported.

The detentions came after police in Moscow on Nov. 5 arrested dozens of people at an authorized nationalist anti-Kremlin march on a public holiday known as the Day of National Unity.

In recent months, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who wants to stand against Putin in polls next year, has also called on his supporters to hold unauthorized protests, resulting in large numbers of arrests.

In June, more than 1,500 Navalny supporters were detained during a day of demonstrations across the nation. Thousands previously turned out in March for the biggest protests in years against the Kremlin, with police saying around 500 people were detained in Moscow.