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Russian Police Break Up 'Article 31' Protests

Eduard Limonov is detained in Moscow.
Eduard Limonov is detained in Moscow.
MOSCOW -- Eduard Limonov, a leader of the Other Russia opposition coalition, was among demonstrators detained by police during an unsanctioned protest on Moscow's Triumfalnaya (Triumph) Square on March 31.

The action was organized by opposition groups and human rights activists to uphold Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of assembly.

An RFE/RL correspondent says that Moscow police smashed his camera as he was covering the protest. The correspondent said he was taking pictures of police as they arrested opposition and human rights activists when a policeman came and damaged his camera.

Opposition and rights groups began staging such actions last year on the last day of the seven months that have 31 days. The Russian authorities have never permitted such actions.

Similar Article 31 gatherings were held in other Russian towns and cities on March 31.

Police detained at least 20 participants in one such demonstration in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.