It is a great pity that Vladimir Putin will inaugurate his third term as President of the Russian Federation with such a brutal crackdown on protesters. Allowing only 5,000 people to assemble in a public area strikes me as an obvious limit on free expression and speech. Estimates of the total number of protesters range between 20,000 to 100,000.
Why do these police pull protesters by the hair and beat them using batons? These protesters do not seem to be armed and are only peacefully demonstrating! This is very unfortunate and does not bode well for the incoming President, whose inauguration will be stained with this brutal attack on his citizens’ freedom of expression!
Perhaps the best description of what is happening in Moscow is via the live updates blog from the Moscow Times. There is no question that Vladimir Putin is returning to power as the “firmness” of police has returned when dealing with demonstrators. Various Russian media outlets are reporting that police are meeting protesters with the characteristic brutality that was common in the pre-Medvedev years and instead of simply managing responses at the rally today, Moscow police and the Interior Ministry OMOH troops have moved aggressively onto Bolotnaya Plaza where thousands of demonstrators remain as police continue to arrest those who fail to disperse.
While the rally was issued a permit, police have moved in and begun to arrest protesters and opposition leaders Alexei Navalny, Boris Nemtsov and Sergei Udaltsov have been arrested already.
Russian news agency RIA is reporting that police cracked down hard on the anti-Putin rally, clubbing demonstrators…
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