Tens of Thousands Clog Moscow to Protest Putin

Police try to intimidate opposition, but turnout heavy
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2012 9:23 AM CDT
Tens of Thousands Clog Moscow to Protest Putin
Tens of thousands opposition members march in central Moscow on earlier today.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Despite new anti-demonstration fines and police interrogating opposition leaders, tens of thousands of Russians jammed Moscow's streets today, protesting against President Vladimir Putin, reports the AP. Police estimated 20,000 protesters showed up, while organizers put the number upward of 100,000. June 12 is Russia Day, a national holiday celebrating the end of the Soviet Union. "Those in power should feel this pressure. We will protest by any means, whether peacefully or not," said a 25-year-old postgraduate student. "If they ignore us, that would mean that bloodshed is inevitable."

Police yesterday raided opposition leaders' homes, confiscating cellphones and computers, and demanding that they come in for questioning an hour before today's rally was to begin. One leftist leader ignored the summons, saying he felt it his duty to join protesters. "I never thought that we would slide back to such repressions," tweeted a TV host. (Read more Russia stories.)

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