Moscow Square Cleared of Protesters Calling for Free Elections

Strategy 31 activist in Moscow on May 31, 2011, holding a sign reading "An election without the opposition is a crime." Source: Ilya Varlamov/Zyalt.livejournal.comMoscow city police quashed an opposition protest on Triumfalnaya Square on Tuesday, arresting 26 and injuring at least one, reports.

Members of the Other Russia opposition party and a group of civil activists were attempting to hold the latest in a weekly protest campaign that they have dubbed “An Election Without the Opposition is a Crime.” Participants held signs lamenting the exclusion of numerous opposition groups in upcoming parliamentary elections and passed out flyers calling for people to join them in a culminating protest on December 4 – the day of elections for representatives to the State Duma.

The police presence on the square was heightened from the last protest, with a full perimeter set up around Triumfalnaya and several paddy wagons stationed to cart away demonstrators. Law enforcement officers also videotaped the protest.

Of the 26 protesters arrested, reports that at an ambulance was called for at least one – Yevgeny Popov, whose forehead was cut when he was detained and forced into a police bus.

No information was available as to whether or not the protest had been sanctioned by city authorities.