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Police Arrest Dozens As Opposition Activists Rally Throughout Russia

August 31, 2010

Russian opposition and human rights activists have held regular, unauthorized protests in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and a number of other major Russian cities.

Reports say that some 60 people were detained in the capital alone.

Four EU lawmakers visiting Russia earlier attended an opposition rally in central Moscow and criticized police for arresting its organizers.

Heidi Hautala, who heads the EU parliament's subcommittee on human rights, called the arrest of former Russian Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov at rally "a violation."

Another prominent opposition figure, Eduard Limonov, was also detained.

Opposition and rights activists try to hold protests in each month that includes 31 days to call attention to Article 31 of Russia's constitution, which guarantees freedom of assembly.

Authorities routinely deny permission for the demonstrations -- permission the activists say they do not need -- and police break up the protests before they can begin, often by dragging protesters away.

In Moscow, rallies were previously held on Triumph Square, but this month the Moscow city government fenced it off and announced plans to build an underground parking garage in the area.

compiled from agency reports

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/Police_Arrest_Dozens_ As_Opposition_Activists_Rally_Throughout_Russia/2144655.html

Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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