of people in Russia have again rallied in protest at last weekend’s election of
Vladimir Putin as president. But their numbers were far fewer than in previous
weeks. Organisers of the main rally in Moscow put the crowd at 25,000, the
police said 10,000. The protesters allege electoral fraud and want to overhaul
a system in which Putin’s grip on power has become entrenched.
these elections? Tell me, were these elections?” cried Left Front leader Sergei
Udaltsov, echoing many slogans at the rally as he addressed the crowd. "Comrades,
it’s simple – either they have us for another six years or we have them. I
don’t want to be had for another six years, I will fight… will you fight?” The
crowd shouted "yes” in unison.
attempt to act on his words, by taking the protest in the direction of Pushkin
Square, immediately got him into trouble. He was arrested by waiting police.
It follows hundreds of arrests a day after the
election. Putin has made it clear the authorities will crack down on protests
that have no official permission.