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Demonstrators in Moscow on December 16 (epa)
MOSCOW, December 16, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Thousands of opposition supporters gathered in Moscow today to demonstrate against the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin, RFE/RL's Russian Service reported.
Protesters, led by former chess champion Garri Kasparov, were targeting what they call rampant corruption and a Kremlin crackdown on democratic freedoms.
Up to 3,000 people participated in the protest, amid a heavy police presence estimated at more than 8,000.
Around 50 people were reportedly detained after scuffling with security forces.
Protest organizers said that around 100 people were prevented from leaving their regions to attend the rally in the capital.
Police this week raided the offices of Kasparov's United Civic Front, saying they were looking for "extremist literature."
(with material from news agencies)
Demonstrators in Moscow carry a coffin with a television in it to protest government control over broadcasting (TASS file photo)
DO RUSSIANS LIKE THEIR GOVERNMENT? During a briefing at RFE/RL's Washington office on November 15, Richard Rose, director of the Center for the Study of Public Policy at the University of Aberdeen, discussed the results of 14 surveys he has conducted since 1992 on Russian public opinion about democracy and the country's development. He discussed the implications of these opinions for relations with the West and for Russia's 2008 presidential election.
Listen to the complete discussion (about 42 minutes):
U.S. Election Expected To Chill Relations With Moscow
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Monarchist Nostalgia Remains Powerful
Russian Election Commission Rejects Third-Term Appeal
Romanov Burial May Be Part Of Kremlin Image Campaign
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