- Title: RUSSIA: Opposition leader Udaltsov detained after rally.
- Date: 15th September 2012
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (SEPTEMBER 15, 2012) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SCENES) LEFT FRONT LEADER SERGEI UDALTSOV ADDRESSING PROTESTERS FROM STAGE PROTESTERS, JOURNALISTS CROWDING NEAR STAGE UDALTSOV WITH MEGAPHONE AMONG SUPPORTERS PROTESTERS MOVING AWAY RIOT POLICE CORDON PROTESTERS, MEDIA IN FRONT OF POLICE CORDON RIOT POLICE IN FRONT OF POLICE BUSES VARIOUS OF POLICE DETAINING UDALTSOV IN CROWD, CAMERAMEN FILMING PEOPLE WALKING, RUNNING AWAY FROM POLICE RIOT POLICE MOVING ON
- Embargoed: 30th September 2012 13:00
- Location: Russian Federation
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Crime,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVATB0OMGHEK7M3WRRNIVOVKRO6
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Police detains Left Front opposition group leader Sergei Udaltsov after mass protest in Moscow.
Riot police detained Russian opposition Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov on Saturday (September 15) night after a mass protest held by various opposition groups and movements in Moscow.
The rally, called March of Millions, was sanctioned by Moscow authorities from 2 pm (10 am GMT) till 10 pm (6 am GMT) but most of protesters started to leave the rally site in the Sakharov Prospect after the main protest was over by 7 pm, and Udaltsov called on supporters to stay till the last minute.
Riot police cordoned off the rally site as the last several hundred protesters left ahead of the sanctioned rally deadline. Riot police detained several protesters including Udaltsov, and forced away those remaining in the street.
Earlier on Saturday, Udaltsov told supporters from the makeshift stage that 50 cities across Russia had people taking to the streets in support of the March of Millions.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched on Saturday through Moscow under streaming banners, flags and balloons to demand an end to President Vladimir Putin's long rule and to breathe life into their protest movement.
Protesters chanted "Russia without Putin!" as they marched through central Moscow in the first big rally since June.
Witnesses said opposition leaders appeared to have achieved their goal of attracting at least 50,000 people, enough to maintain the momentum of their movement but almost certainly too few to increase alarm in the Kremlin.
The protest underlined anger over what liberal Russians see as tough measures to smother the opposition since Putin began another six years in the Kremlin in May, but protests have not taken off outside big cities and the opposition is not united.
The protesters said Putin's return to the Kremlin after four years as premier was a setback for democracy because he could now be in a position to extend his rule of Russia to 24 years if he wins another term when his mandate expires in 2018.
That would keep him in power longer than Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, and opponents fear it would mean political and economic stagnation.
The demonstrations began last December over allegations of fraud in a parliamentary election won by Putin's party and turned into the biggest protests against him since he first became president in 2000, at times drawing up to 100,000 people.
Putin, who turns 60 next month, dismisses the protesters as a minority who do not have wide support across the country of more than 140 million, and his presidential election victory in March took the sting out of the demonstrations.
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