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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dozens of Opposition Activists Detained

MTOMON riot police detaining opposition activists Monday near the Chistiye Prudy metro before a march to protest the presidential election. Story, Page 2.
Riot police roughly detained dozens of protesters, including Union of Right Forces leader Nikita Belykh, in central Moscow on Monday evening, quashing an opposition march that City Hall had refused to authorize.

Simultaneously, in St. Petersburg, which allowed a march to go ahead, about 2,500 people showed up to challenge the legitimacy of Sunday's election and call on voters to reject the president-elect, Dmitry Medvedev, the Novy Region news agency reported.

Former chess champion Garry Kasparov and the leader of the banned National Bolshevik Party, Eduard Limonov, traveled to St. Petersburg to protest the vote, which they called a "farce." Both are leaders of the Other Russia opposition coalition.

Belykh and leading human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov arrived at the meeting spot for the Moscow march near the Chistiye Prudy metro station shortly before it was to start at 5 p.m. Dozens of National Bolshevik activists and other members of The Other Russia milled around as rain lightly fell.

The police acted quickly to prevent the march, detaining 40 to 50 people, including Belykh and Ponomaryov, as they gave interviews to reporters about 10 minutes after the march was to have started.

Belykh, who stressed he was attending in his personal capacity rather than as leader of the Union of Right Forces, said, "We don't want people to think that a free election has taken place."

Also detained were Garry Kasparov's press secretary, Marina Litvinovich, and Denis Belunov, an activist with Kasparov's United Civil Front.

Belunov said by telephone late Monday that he was still being held at the Meshchansky district police station.

Police gave no reason why the activists had been detained. OMON officers plucked individual protesters out of the crowd before they could set out to walk to Turgenev Square, where a rally was scheduled to take place. The officers forcibly carried away young National Bolshevik supporters, who chanted, "We Need Another Russia" and "Fascists."

Despite the detentions, some 10 activists with the United Civil Front made it to a presidential administration office at Staraya Ploshchad and glued a leaflet to the front door demanding that Medvedev renounce his election as president, the Regnum news agency reported.

No detentions were reported from the St. Petersburg rally, which was also attended by rock star Yury Shevchuk. At least 20 trucks with OMON riot police and Interior troops were parked at the final destination of the march, Chernyshevsky Garden, Gazeta.ru said.

Early Monday, St. Petersburg police detained Maxim Reznik, a senior Yabloko official, as he left the party's headquarters, said Dmitry Yastreba, a colleague of Reznik. Reznik had been assisting members of Golos, a nongovernmental organization, in checking fraud allegations made by voters late Sunday. Yastreba said Reznik finished work at about 3 a.m. and was beaten by plainclothes officers as he exited the building. A uniformed policeman then detained him, Yastreba said.

Reznik, who could not be reached because his cell phone battery was dead, remained in custody Monday on suspicion of assaulting a policeman, Yastreba said, citing the police.