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Moscow Police Clear 'Occupy Abai' Encampment


Russian protesters rest on camping mats in front of the statue of Abai in Moscow.
Russian riot police moved in during the early hours of May 16 to clear an encampment in Moscow occupied by protesters.

Most of the people taking part in the "Occupy Abai" emcampment voluntarily gathered their belongings and left the area but the Moscow police press service said some 20 protesters who refused to leave were detained.

Police cleared the area after a Moscow court declared on May 15 that the ongoing street encampment in the Russian capital was illegal, setting the grounds for police to move in and demolish it.

The court's ruling was made after a group of local residents filed complaints about noise and damage to green spaces allegedly caused by demonstrators.

Police vowed to move quickly to dismantle the makeshift protest site if a court gave them a green light, according to RFE/RL's Russian Service.
FOLLOW our Russian Service's reporting from the scene of the "Occupy Abai" protest as events unfolded (in Russian)

The protest camp was set up near a monument to Kazakh poet Abai Kunanbaev in Moscow's Chistye Prudy district and became known as the Occupy Abai encampment, after thousands protested mass arrests of other antigovernment demonstrators on May 6.

After the camp was dismantled by police, some of the protesters were reportedly gathering near the Chistye Prudy metro station.

With reporting by IFX Rus, dpa and Interfax