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Saturday, April 14, 2007

pre-May Day Crackdown

-- Russian police arrested opposition leader and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov today along with more than 100 supporters and several journalists at an unsanctioned protest against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Thousands of riot police swarmed around central Moscow's Pushkin Square, the historical focus of democracy protests, after the city's authorities pledged the same display of police force that greeted the last protest in the capital, in December.

Kasparov, who leads a loose assembly of opposition groups called The Other Russia, was arrested shortly after the rally began, said his spokeswoman, Natalya Morar. The Other Russia hopes to field candidates in the nation's parliamentary elections in December and presidential election next March.

``Russia Without Putin,'' chanted protesters around the square as demonstrators and both foreign and national reporters were herded into waiting police vans, where some detainees could be heard banging from the inside and shouting ``Freedom!''

-- Protesters turn on Putin

2,000 demonstrators defy Kremlin to march in Moscow's streets as opposition leader Garry Kasparov is arrested
There were pensioners clutching single roses, students wearing jeans and a young man weaving through Moscow's anarchic traffic on a chopper bike.

Ranged against them were 9,000 riot police wielding truncheons and the might of the Russian state. And yet for one moment yesterday the demonstrators got the better of their opponents. After surging down the Boulevard Ring, the protesters began a defiant chant: 'Russia without Putin: Russia without Putin.' The sun burst on to a freezing Moscow morning. There was, it seemed, a whiff of revolution in the air.

Luke Harding in Moscow
Sunday April 15, 2007
The Observer


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