December 9, 2011

RUSSIA: At Least 50,000 Police And Riot Troops Deployed In Moscow Ahead Of Saturday Protests!!!

BBC news
written by Staff
Friday December 9, 2011

Moscow is braced for what the opposition claims will be the biggest demonstration in Russia for 20 years.

Tens of thousands are expected to gather in a square south of the Kremlin, in the latest show of anger over disputed parliamentary polls.

Smaller rallies are due to take place in cities across the country.

The protesters allege Sunday's elections - which gave Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party a small lead - were fraudulent.

Hundreds of people have been arrested during anti-Putin protests over the past week, mainly in Moscow and St Petersburg.

'School classes extended'

At least 50,000 police and riot troops have been deployed in Moscow ahead of Saturday's protests.

The opposition says it is hoping for a turnout of 30,000 in the capital in the demonstration dubbed "For Fair Elections", due to begin at 14:00 (10:00 GMT).

The BBC's Daniel Sandford in Moscow says that if the protests come even close to expectations, they will shake the 12-year-long political domination of Mr Putin.

The authorities agreed to allow Saturday's demonstrations to go ahead following negotiations with opposition leaders.

The two sides reached a deal in which Moscow would allow a high-turnout if the rally was relocated from downtown Revolution Square to Bolotnaya Square, a narrow island in the Moscow River.

The official results of the elections to Russia's Duma showed that the ruling party United Russia lost 77 of its 315 seats, just retaining a small majority.

But there is a widespread view, fuelled by mobile phone videos, and accounts on internet social networking sites that there was wholesale election fraud, and that Mr Putin's party cheated its way to victory, our correspondent says.

On Friday, the presidential Council for Human Rights advising Mr Medvedev said the reports of vote-rigging were of deep concern, and that the elections should be rerun if they were confirmed.

However the council has no power to order a fresh ballot, correspondents say.

Earlier this week, security experts said attempts had been made to counter online dissent in Russia, with hijacked PCs being used to drown out online chat on Twitter.

Analysis of the many pro-Kremlin messages posted to some discussions suggested they were sent by machines, according to security firm Trend Micro.

Mr Putin, who was president between 2000 and 2008, is widely predicted to hold the position again following presidential elections in March.

On Thursday, he blamed the US for stoking the recent unrest, after Secretary of State Hilary Clinton expressed reservations over the poll.

The prime minister said Mrs Clinton's remarks had "set the tone for some opposition activists".

Are you in Moscow? Are you planning to protest? Send us your comments using the form below.

Send your pictures and videos to or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

No comments: