Protesters have taken to the streets of St Petersburg for an anti-government demonstration. Marches and rallies went ahead in defiance of a ban by authorities, who said they were concerned it would paralyse the city. It is reported up to 300 people have been detained, including opposition politicians.
A group that brings together numerous opposition groups organised the protest, claiming the Kremlin is trying to suppress their activities. Former prime minister and leading opposition figure Mikhail Kassianov spoke to reporters: “The authorities are just taking illegal action. They are trying to stop any kind of demonstration, which is absolutely in accordance with the constitution and the law, and the authorities are simply just destroying the constitutional structure in our country.” On Friday the opposition urged voters to spoil their ballot papers at an election in St Petersburg, to protest at the exclusion of an opposition party.