Police in Moscow have broken up an anti-Kremlin rally led by opposition leader and former world chess champion Gary Kasparov. There are conflicting reports over whether Kasparaov was among a number of people detained by police. Scuffles broke out between police and protesters from the Other Russia group after around 3,000 people tried to march to the central election commission’s headquarters.
They say a general election in just over a week’s time is unfairly weighted to parties supporting President Vladimir Putin. Other Russia is an umbrella group bringing together Kremlin opponents from liberal free market thinkers to anarchists and the hard left.
Police have cracked down on previous Other Russia marches this year. But they had recently adopted a softer approach. On Saturday they kept their distance until a squad of riot police blocked the march.
Later Putin’s supporters took the streets in their own demonstration. The President will step down next year after his second term but has said he will continue to play a role in politics.