MOSCOW/ KARACH (ENNS/MD) Russian police rounded up over 1,000 people in Moscow in one of the biggest crackdowns of recent years against an increasingly defiant opposition challenging President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power.
The detentions came around a protest to demand that opposition members be allowed to run in a local election. Authorities had declared it illegal and sought to block participation, but thousands of people turned up anyway in one of the longest and most determined protests of recent times.
Chants of “Russia without Putin” and “Putin resign” echoed through central Moscow as guardsmen clad in riot gear beat back protesters with batons and roughly detained people.
At least one woman and a man appeared to have suffered serious head wounds.
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny from Jail had called the protest to persuade officials to allow opposition-minded candidates to run in a September 8 vote.
Authorities say they were barred because they failed to collect sufficient genuine signatures in their support.
Moreover burnishing his man of action image, Putin spent the day diving to the bottom of the Gulf of Finland in a mini-submarine to honor a Soviet submarine that sunk there in World War Two.