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Eight anti-Putin protesters guilty as 200 supporters detained outside court

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Eight anti-Putin protesters guilty as 200 supporters detained outside court
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A Russian judge has found a group of anti-Putin protesters guilty for rioting and violence against police.

By law, they could be jailed for eight years. Prosecuters are calling for sentences of five to six years.

The group, mostly in their 20s, were arrested during clashes at an opposition rally in Moscow last year the day before President Vladimir Putin was sworn in for a third Kremlin term.

The group pleaded not guilty in the trial denounced by Kremlin critics as politically motivated.

Hundreds of people gathered to support the defendants, shouting “freedom!”

Two women from protest group Pussy Riot were in the crowd.

Some wore white ribbons – a symbol of protest and discontent.

A police spokesman said around 200 people outside the court were arrested for public order offences after the guilty verdicts were announced.

By law, most large outdoor gatherings require prior approval from government officials, according to Russian authorities.

The judge said she would pronounce the sentences on Monday.