Dozens Russian homebuyers detained near Red Square

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Dozens of people were detained in central Moscow Saturday during a protest and march to the presidential administration by housing investors who never received their apartments, organisers said.

The 'deceived shareholders' as they have become known over the past several years are people who invested their savings into housing construction projects during Russia's construction boom of the mid-2000s only to see the developers go bankrupt and never deliver their side of the bargain.

About 1,000 such investors planned to gather on Red Square to make their grievances heard only to see the entire square quickly cordoned off by police, said the group's coordinator Igor Gulyev.

The group of about 300 then pushed forward to the presidential administration where they continued picketing, he said. "About 40 people were detained, one 62-year-old woman was dragged into a police van by hands and feet and the administration sent a doctor to take care of her," he said.

Police told Interfax that they arrested 20 people.

"People are fed up, their problems are only solved on TV but not in reality, so they want to attract more attention to themselves," he said, adding that current bankruptcy laws did not hold developers accountable.

The website for deceived investors estimates that about 78,000 families fell victim to various scams over the past six years in which developers took their money but never finished building their apartments, leaving them homeless.

© 2011 AFP

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