Russian police arrest activists during protests over election fraud

Russian police arrest activists during protests over election fraud

It was perhaps the biggest opposition rally in years and ended with police detaining about 300 activists. A group of several hundred marched toward the Central Elections Commission near the Kremlin, but were stopped by riot police and taken away in buses.

Estimates of the number of protesters ranged from 5,000 to 10,000. They chanted "Russia without Putin" and accused his United Russia party of stealing votes.

United Russia won about 50 percent of Sunday's vote, a result that opposition politicians and election monitors said was inflated because of ballot-box stuffing and other vote fraud. It was a significant drop from the last election, when the party took 64 percent.

The result has energised the opposition and poses a humbling challenge to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in his drive to return to the presidency.


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