In Moscow police say more than 100 demonstrators were detained. It is reported they had been taking part in a rally close to the Kremlin against alleged irregularities in the country’s elections.
The scenes were repeated in Saint Petersburg the home of both President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, and 70 people were detained.
The protests were mounted amidst criticism of electoral fraud and irregularities in advance of voting. Those accusations were dismissed by President Medvedev though the electoral commission said there were some minor violations.
Igor Bogdanov, Chairman of Central Election Commission Coordinating Committee: “We have received over 250 complaints on our hotline, but none of them, fortunately, have been related to serious election violations as voting gets under way at the polling stations.”
There was another controversy when Liliya Shibanova, the director of the western financed electoral watchdog, Golos, was held at Moscow airport for 12 hours on Saturday, and had her laptop confiscated. She claims there were many suspect ballot papers:
“All sorts of things were happening with absentee voting. ‘Cruise voting’ on buses the same group voting at various polling stations.”
She also claimed pressure was put on students to vote using their absentee vouchers and alleged that the Golos website and two others run by liberal media outlets were the targeted by cyber attacks which closed down the sites.
They say the sites were attacked in order to silence them after they made allegations of electoral violations.