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  1. #1
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    Russia post-election protests-Thousands surge into Moscow to challenge Kremlin

    BBC News - Thousands surge into Moscow to challenge Kremlin

    24 December 2011 Last updated at 14:43 GMT

    Thousands surge into Moscow to challenge Kremlin

    Huge crowds packed central Moscow for one of the biggest protests in years

    Tens of thousands of people have rallied in central Moscow in a show of anger at alleged electoral fraud.

    They passed a resolution "not to give a single vote to Vladimir Putin" at next year's presidential election.

    Protest leader Alexei Navalny told the crowd to loud applause that Russians would no longer tolerate corruption.

    "I see enough people here to take the Kremlin and [Government House] right now but we are peaceful people and won't do that just yet," he said.

    Demonstrators say parliamentary elections on 4 December, which were won by Mr Putin's party, were rigged. The government denies the accusation.

    A sea of demonstrators stretched along Sakharov Avenue, a few miles from the Kremlin, in sub-zero temperatures.

    Rallies were taking place across Russia, with the first big protest in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.

    At least 28,000 people turned out in the capital, according to the Russian interior ministry, but rally organisers said the true number was around 120,000.

    President Dmitry Medvedev announced political reforms this week, but many demonstrators say it is not enough.

    They are demanding a re-run of the poll, which was won by Vladimir Putin's party - but with a much smaller share of the overall vote.

    As people braved the freezing temperatures, the Moscow mayor's office was reportedly laying on tea and simple hot food from field kitchens.

    Security is tight in the city, with 40 busloads of riot police lined up along the avenue, according to Russian media.

    At one point, police manning metal detectors briefly closed access to the avenue, Interfax news agency reports.

    'We're the power '

    In Moscow, protesters clutched white balloons and banners with the slogan "For Free Elections".

    This is a huge, mass movement of Muscovites, the BBC's Daniel Sandford reports from the scene.

    The resolution passed at Saturday's rally built on demands expressed at an earlier rally in Moscow on 10 December.

    Another new point was a call for the creation of a new election monitoring body - the Moscow Voters' Association - to investigate ballot-rigging.

    Mr Navalny, a prominent anti-corruption blogger who was jailed for 15 days over a street protest just after the elections, condemned Russia's leaders as "swindlers and thieves".

    He listed victims of injustice including imprisoned former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in custody.

    "Who's the power here?" he shouted to cries of "We are" from the crowd.

    "We are peaceful people but we can't put up with this forever."

    He promised that the next protest rally would be a "million strong".

    Alexei Kudrin, who recently resigned after serving a decade as Mr Putin's finance minister, was booed when he took the microphone to call for early parliamentary elections and urge a dialogue between the Kremlin and the opposition.

    "There needs to be a platform for dialogue, otherwise there will be a revolution and we lose the chance that we have today for a peaceful transformation," he said.

    An eclectic line-up of 22 speakers were expected at the Moscow rally, with rival opposition figures addressing a crowd which mixed liberals with nationalists
    • In a video message, Russian rock musician Yury Shevchuk urged protesters to maintain their dignity and avoid "competing in hatred for the authorities"
    • Billionaire and Putin election challenger Mikhail Prokhorov had been expected to address the rally but stayed in the crowd, saying he had heard presidential candidates were "not supposed to speak"
    • Another presidential candidate, veteran liberal Grigory Yavlinsky, did speak, and called for a free electoral system.
    • Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, 80, did not attend after all, sending a message of support instead
    Some 50,000 people rallied on 10 December, in what was then biggest anti-government protest since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    On Thursday, Mr Medvedev proposed to hold direct elections of regional governors and simplify the procedure for registering political parties, but protesters say the concessions do not go far enough, the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Moscow says.

    However, one of the main problems for the opposition is that there is no single leader able to unite it, our correspondent adds.

    'Flawed elections'

    According to the official results of the elections to Russia's Duma, the ruling United Russia party saw its share of the vote fall from 64% to 49%, though it remains easily the biggest party.

    But there is a widespread view, fuelled by mobile phone videos and accounts on internet social networking sites, that there was wholesale election fraud and that Mr Putin's party cheated its way to victory.
    The Kremlin denies the claim.

    In the Pacific port of Vladivostok, demonstrators carried posters calling for Mr Putin to be put on trial and regional MP Artyom Samsonov said the election results should be cancelled

    Rallies against ballot-rigging were reported across Russia's time zones on Saturday by Interfax
    • In the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, a rally of between 800 and 1,500 people passed off peacefully
    • About 100 people braved a frost of -15C in Orenburg on the border with Kazakhstan
    • About 500 people rallied in Chelyabinsk in the southern Urals under the slogan "These elections were a farce! We want honest elections"
    Several arrests were made in St Petersburg, Vladimir Putin's home city, where two rallies were held, reportedly attended by a total of about 2,500 people.

    Moscow protesters' resolution
    • Free all political prisoners and those unjustly convicted
    • Cancel the results of the fabricated elections
    • Sack and investigate election commission chief Vladimir Churov
    • Register all political parties and reform electoral law before March election
    • Hold new, open and honest elections
    • Create a Moscow Voters' Association to investigate ballot-rigging
    • Ask all Russians "not to give a single vote to Vladimir Putin" on 4 March
    At the scene

    Steve Rosenberg
    BBC News, Moscow

    Sakharov Avenue is packed with protesters - tens of thousands of people who have taken to the streets to demand fresh parliamentary elections and much of their anger is directed at Vladimir Putin.

    There are placards declaring "don't vote for Putin in the presidential elections", and many in the crowd are blowing red whistles - their attempt to blow the whistle on Mr Putin's decade in power.

    The large turnout today will keep up the pressure on the Kremlin. The authorities have already promised limited political reforms but so far they have shown no intention of cancelling the results of the recent parliamentary vote which is widely believed to have been rigged in favour of Vladimir Putin's party.
    "Slavery is the daughter of darkness; an ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction; ambition and intrigue take advantage of the credulity and inexperience of men who have no political, economic or civil knowledge. They mistake pure illusion for reality, license for freedom, treason for patriotism, vengeance for justice."-Simón Bolívar

  2. #2
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    RT_com RT
    50 thousand strong: RT aerial photo from Moscow biggest rally #dec24 #protest

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  3. #3
    Mr Gribbs's Avatar
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    25-01-2013 @ 11:57 PM
    Paid stooges, foreign flunkies, traitorous bastards, whatever you want to call them, they don't have Russia's best intentions at hand. They want to bring Russia back to the days when it was run by the wet brained Western puppet Yeltsin. That was when Jews and other Western robbed Russia of its vast resources and became filthy rich while the average Russian citizen was living in a hell on earth. Putin is pretty fucking bad, but he beats the alternative by a country nuke,

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