Police Grab Dozens in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG -- Riot police detained dozens of opposition activists rallying Sunday in St. Petersburg against President Vladimir Putin's government, a day after the crackdown on an opposition demonstration in Moscow.

Activists said some protesters were beaten and arrested and that leading Union of Right Forces, or SPS, member Boris Nemtsov was among those detained.

"What we are seeing now in St. Petersburg resembles a military operation," said Olga Kurnosova, a rally organizer from The Other Russia coalition. "It shows the authorities' fear."

Police moved in when protesters unfurled signs for the banned National Bolshevik Party as about 100 activists with white flowers headed from the Yabloko party headquarters to a planned rally.

Police detained the marchers first and then several dozen other protesters. Yabloko activist Daria Makukhina said several State Duma candidates were beaten and detained.

When several hundred demonstrators reached the museum, they found it blocked by lines of police in full riot gear.

Police then began wading into the crowd, rounding up protesters. They detained more than 100 people, including Nemtsov and SPS leader Nikita Belykh.

A spokesman for the city police denied that either of the party leaders had been detained, Gazeta.ru reported Sunday.

AP, MT