President Vladimir Putin may have called for anti-government protesters to be treated with respect but it is unclear whether police in Moscow received the message.
They were out in force on New Year’s Eve to prevent what they described as an illegal gathering in the centre of the capital.
But the participants were prevented from leaving the metro station by a large number of riot police who made several arrests. The demonstration was organised by the controversial opposition writer Eduard Limonov.
On the 31st of every month, protesters gather to call for the application of article 31 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of assembly.