Russia arrests dozens of activists at protests: AFP

7th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian security forces on Sunday arrested scores of left-wing opposition activists during marches to commemorate the anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution.

Members of the OMON anti-riot police in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg arrested around 100 activists who were part of a rally led by the Communist Party, putting them in police vans, an AFP correspondent reported.

Extreme-left politician Eduard Limonov said those arrested were members of his newly-formed Drugaya Rossia (Other Russia) party.

"More than 100 Other Russia activists were surrounded by the OMON and arrested," party official Alexander Averin said in a statement on its website.

Reports said that security forces detached the Other Russia activists from the main column of traditional Communist Party members as they marched towards the historic Aurora cruiser which played a central role in the Revolution.

Meanwhile, the leader of the radical Left Front group, Sergei Udaltsov, said he and several other activists had been detained at a similar march in Moscow.

Udaltsov told Moscow Echo from the police van that the arrests had been rough and one of the activists was left with a broken nose.

He blamed the Communist Party for the "senseless bloodshed", saying his activists had not been allowed into the main march and were left exposed to being surrounded by the police.

The arrests came despite signs the authorities have been showing a cautious softening of their hard line against opposition demonstrations.

President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday unexpectedly vetoed a parliament bill which would have further restricted opposition protests, and activists succeeded in holding a rare authorised protest in Moscow on October 31.

The anniversary of the October Revolution, marked on November 7 due to calendar changes, is no longer a national holiday in Russia and has been replaced by the November 4 National Unity Day.

© 2010 AFP

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