Hundreds arrested as thousands protest elections in Moscow (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Police have counted 2,000 demonstrators, but unofficial estimates say up to 10,000 people made their way to Chistye Prudy Park to attend a meeting staged by the opposition movement “Solidarnost” (Solidarity).
Participants blowing whistles and shouting (REUTERS / Anton Golubev)
"Shame!” chanted the crowd. The demonstrators claimed the United Russia party had rigged the voting results. Meanwhile, as the Central Election Commission has almost done its counting, United Russia is coming in with almost 50 per cent of the vote.
Police had already cordoned the area off for a meeting, which only 700 people had been authorized to join. As the stream of people increased, the designated area overflowed and the crowds spilled into a neighboring area. When they started to block the traffic, police began arresting protesters.
At times it seemed the police outnumbered the demonstrators
Watch video of the protest
The angry crowd tried to march to the city center, but their passage was blocked by police. Some young men started throwing stones at cars parked near the pavement. In the meantime, the crowd parted with many leaving the rally altogether, while others managed to break through the police cordon into the city center.
But as the demonstrators moved deeper into the city, they were met with a heavy police presence intent on preventing the spontaneous march.
(AFP Photo / Andrey Smirnov)
This is the biggest rally so far in the wake of the parliamentary elections. Central St. Petersburg hosted another meeting where, according to Interfax news agency, several smoke grenades were set off and more arrests were made.
(REUTERS / Anton Golubev)