Russian Crackdown Draws Fire

US, Council of Europe condemn police violence and arrests of opposition leaders
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2007 9:40 AM CST
An elderly woman walks down a street as police officers confront protesters during a rally against President Vladimir Putin's government in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007. Riot police detained...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Authorities detained Russian opposition leaders yesterday and broke up a St. Petersburg rally and march in the second day of aggressive crackdowns on dissent, the Washington Post reports. Several candidates in Sunday's parliamentary elections were among the 200 held. "They have forbidden us from discussing Putin," one candidate told demonstrators just before he was arrested.

Others were supporters of chess legend-turned-activist Garry Kasparov, who was sentenced to 5 days in jail for a protest Saturday in Moscow. Police beat demonstrators, witnesses said, leading activists to accuse the government of hypocrisy for resorting to the same tactics it harshly criticized Georgian authorities for using against dissidents there. The US and European human-rights activists expressed concern.