Russian opposition holds protest without arrests: AFP

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Hundreds of Russian opposition supporters turned out for a protest in Moscow Saturday, with the demonstration proceeding without arrests in stark contrast to past gatherings, an AFP correspondent said.

Around 1,500 people took part in the meeting "For a Russia without arbitrary rule and corruption" led by opposition leaders including former cabinet minister Boris Nemtsov and former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov.

Dozens of members of pro-Kremlin youth movements denounced the meeting on its fringes but were prevented by the security forces from mixing with the main demonstration.

The opposition protest on Bolotnaya Square in the centre of Moscow had been sanctioned by the authorities, unlike previous gatherings which were outlawed and then rapidly broken up by the police.

Late last month Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who was notorious for his lack of tolerance for opposition protests in the capital.

© 2010 AFP

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