Moscow police evict opposition camp

(RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Moscow police have evicted an opposition sit-in camp in the center of the Russian capital and detained more than 20 people. This comes after a court ruling banning the camp.

­Early on Wednesday authorities asked the protesters to clear the site on Chistoprudny Boulevard. Some people left but those who refused were arrested. The area was cordoned off by police and public utility workers moved in to clear the site.

The decision by Moscow district court on Tuesday ordered police to stop the opposition protests in the city center after a number of the district’s residents complained about disorder and damage to lawns on the boulevard.

The camp, dubbed “Occupy Abai” after the Kazakh poet and philosopher Abai Qunanbaev, whose monument is located at the site, was set up by anti-government demonstrators on May 8. The location was attended daily by several hundred and sometimes even several thousand people who coordinated their rallies via Twitter and other social networks. Several dozen protesters used to stay at the camp overnight.

The sit-in was attended by well-known opposition leaders Aleksey Navalny and Sergey Udaltsov. Others who turned up included the Duma deputies Dmitry Gudkov and Ilya Ponomarev, as well as the socialite Ksenia Sobchak.