Moscow Police Disperse Protesters at Anti-Putin Sit-in

Posted May 16th, 2012 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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Russian police have broken up an opposition protest camp in a central Moscow park, dispersing dozens and taking several people into custody.

Wednesday's early morning raid brought an abrupt end to the country's first Occupy-style demonstration, which was launched in response to President Vladimir Putin's inauguration last week.

A court on Tuesday ordered police to disperse the demonstrators by 12 p.m. local time Wednesday, but officers moved in around 5 a.m rousing many from their sleep.

The protest, called Occupy Abay, got its name from the 19th-century Kazakh poet Abay Kunabayev, whose statue stands at the boulevard where the demonstration took place.

Some Russians allege fraud in the election that brought Mr. Putin back to the presidency.

A constitutional amendment has extended the president's time in office to two consecutive six-year terms, meaning Mr. Putin could stay in power until 2024 — an outlook many Russians find unsettling.