Russian police stop Moscow opposition rally
Russian police on Tuesday arrested 26 people who tried to hold an unauthorised demonstration in Moscow against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, organisers said.
The protestors had just unfurled a banner and began to chant "Russia Without Putin" at a square in central Moscow when police moved in, hauling the demonstrators into buses, a senior official with the Other Russia opposition group, Simon Verdiane, told Echo Moscow radio.
Twenty-six people were detained, he said. Last week police detained 25 people at a similar gathering.
Putin announced a week ago that he would run for president during upcoming presidential elections in March 2012, returning to the job that he held between 2000-2008.
Under Putin's first two terms, the country's political opposition had been steadily weakened and is today a shadow of the former vibrant self it was in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet Union collapse.
Putin on September 24 announced that he would run for the presidency in next year's elections in a swap with current President Dmitry Medvedev who would be named prime minister, saying the two men had agreed the job switch several years earlier.
Kremlin critics cried foul, comparing the arrangement to Soviet-era politics.
© 2011 AFP