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Russian 'Day Of Wrath' Activists Detained

Russian police detain opposition activists during a protest rally in central Moscow on August 12.
MOSCOW -- Two Russian opposition activists remain in police custody a day after being detained ahead of an unauthorized "Day of Wrath" protest in Moscow, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The protest on August 12 was part of an ongoing campaign against the policies of the Moscow city authorities, first and foremost longtime Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

Sergei Udaltsov and Konstantin Kosyakin, both members of the opposition movement Left Front, were detained in an underpass on the way to join the protest.

Just minutes earlier, Udaltsov had told RFE/RL what the participants hoped to achieve.

"After our protest was broken up in June, we decided that every month we would come out and try to bring about real changes in the city," Udaltsov said.

He added that the main goal of the protests was to force Luzhkov to step down and to reinstate direct elections for the Moscow mayoral post, which is currently selected by the city duma.

Police detained many of the would-be participants before they even reached the designated venue in central Moscow.

The Moscow government had warned in advance that they would not allow the unapproved protest to take place.

Lev Ponomaryov of the movement For Human Rights was immediately surrounded by police when he reached the meeting place and forced into a police bus.

Ponomaryov was hospitalized later that evening with high blood pressure.

Ponomaryov said he planned to lodge a complaint about the use of disproportionate force by police in breaking up the protest.