Russian police have dispersed protesters angry at President Vladimir Putin who had been camping in a central Moscow square for days. The legal decision to end the peaceful occupation was taken on Tuesday by a Moscow court after several residents complained about the noise and garbage the protesters allegedly brought with them. The opposition activists were given until midday Wednesday by the court order, but the police – it’s thought in a bid to avoid media coverage – appeared at 5.45 in the morning to wake up the protesters and gave them five minutes to pack their bags. According to one of the protest leaders, Ilya Yashin, there were about 100 people in the camp at that moment; 23 of them were detained by the police for refusing to obey an order.
Some of the “chased” protesters went to another square not far away intending to set up another camp that they hope will last until the next big opposition march scheduled for June 12. A rally held on May 6 was accompanied by violent clashes with police.
The protest camp was set up shortly after the inauguration of Vladimir Putin for his third presidential term and the protest dubbed “The march of Millions”. Demonstrators numbered from a few hundred people at night up to several thousand in the evening.