Russian police detain 100 during freedom-of-assembly protests

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Nearly 100 protesters, including Russia’s former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, were arrested for taking part in an anti-government rally in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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An estimated 200 protesters turned out for the March of Dissent rally Saturday in downtown Moscow. At least 35 of them were hauled away in police vehicles.

The rally in Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg, was attended by 100 people, 60 of whom were detained.

One police officer in Moscow was injured during confrontation with the protesters.

According to Moscow police department spokesman Viktor Biryukov, the officer was pushed by a female protester.

“As a result, he fell and cut his face on broken glass,” Biryukov said.

Police arrested opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, and Sergei Udaltsov, leader of the Leftist Front opposition group.

Russia’s opposition groups came out on the March of Dissent rally in defiance of a city government ban.

Several opposition groups hold Marches of Dissent on the last day of each month with 31 days in defence of their right to free assembly, as enshrined in the Russian Constitution.