Top dissident arrested at Moscow rally

31st January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian authorities arrested the leading writer and dissident Eduard Limonov on Monday as he joined hundreds of opposition activists at a protest in central Moscow.

Moscow police spokesman Viktor Biryukov confirmed in comments to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency that Limonov was one of 20 people arrested along with Sergei Udaltsov, leader of the radical Left Front movement.

The arrests came after more than 500 opposition activists, including the former vice-prime minister Boris Nemtsov, had gathered for a rally billed as a defence of basic freedoms.

The Russian authorities "want to be like (Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak," Nemtsov told AFP as he drew a parallel between the Kremlin and the Egyptian president who is battling a mass revolt.

Shortly before the rally, Limonov said that he was determined to speak out but feared that he would be prevented from doing so.

On Sunday, security forces had carried out searches of the Other Russia movement which includes Limonov among its leaders.

Meanwhile, in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg, more than 60 people were arrested at an unauthorised protest in defence of the right to assembly, local police told AFP. More than 300 people took part in the demonstration.

© 2011 AFP

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