After the re-election of Russian President Vladimir Putin, thousands of anti-Putin demonstrators took to the streets of Moscow and other places to challenge the results. As you’ll recall Putin won the highly contended election with a 63.64% majority vote. The demonstrations against him have turned dangerous according to media reports that Russian police took to the streets and detained hundreds of protesters. Police have publicly stated they are now holding 250 people in Moscow and 300 in Saint Petersburg with the intent of breaking up demonstrations.
According to reports about 20,000 anti-Putin protesters came to Pushkin Square to denounce the electoral victory by Putin. The opposition to the election results were granted permission to have a protest, but only for an hour, and did so on stage with a banner reading “For fair elections”. However when the allotted time expired, police moved in and removed people forcefully.
“After the allotted time for the demonstration was up, there was some heavy-handed tactics by police to clear the area.
“Officers formed rings and herded protesters down into the entrances of the Moscow metro. Dozens of people were arrested, including some of the main opposition leaders at the event.”
– Christopher True, Al Jazeera
Right now many are of the opinion that the elections were stolen. The international body observing them, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said that they were not fair and that the system was skewed in favour of the incumbent Putin. Despite all the claims of election irregularities some have acknowledged his win and are claiming it is legitimate. Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign affairs chief said that it was a clear victory for Putin. Locally the runner up in the election, Gennady Zyuganov of the Russian Communist Party does not agree.
“I think that we must not congratulate Putin’s team, him, or the country with this sort of election because everyone has lost, because the forced results and forced meetings cause nothing for the citizens of Russia except humiliation and distress”
– Gennady Zyuganov,
Russia’s Communist party leader