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Protesters Demand Direct Election Of Moscow Mayor

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov
MOSCOW (RFE/RL) -- Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Moscow city duma on June 17 to demand a referendum on directly electing the mayor of the Russian capital, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Police forcibly dispersed the demonstration and detained several protesters, saying that the action was not officially sanctioned.

A demonstration organizer, Sergei Udaltsov, told RFE/RL that some of the activists were scheduled to speak at the Moscow city duma session on June 17, where deputies discussed possible amendments to Moscow's election code.

One change would have been to hold a referendum to see if Muscovites want to directly elect the mayor, who is currently elected by the city council. But the proposal was rejected.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, 72, has governed Moscow since 1992. He has been accused of corruption and nepotism.