Anti-Putin protests sweep Russia

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 14, 2011 18:00 hrs

Protesters voiced their anger against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the alleged election fraud in the far eastern part of Russia on Saturday.

Around 1,000 people walked in a rally rallied in the southern Siberian city of Barnaul, protesting against Putin.

Smaller groups of protesters were seen in various other cities like Krasnoyarsk, Vladivostok, Chita and Khabarovsk in eastern Russia, RIA Novosti reported.

At least 30,000 people are expected to gather in Moscow to showcase their anger over the poll results. A strong public gathering was also expected to be staged at St. Petersburg.

Putin warned that the demonstrators had the right to assemble and protest but the security personnel would take the legal actions in order to maintain law and order in the country, according to RIA Novosti.

Police have detained around 1,000 people so far.

Putin´s United Russia party led government claimed the elections held on Dec 4 as fair.

Putin´s party had managed little less than 50% votes, down from 2007´s share of 64%.

However, the party of Putin despite the reduced vote share could achieve a simple majority.

According to international observers from Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the polls were not entirely fair.

It said in a press statement that despite the lack of a level playing field during the Russian State Duma elections, voters took advantage of their right to express their choice.

Putin had served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus.

He became acting President on 31 Dec 1999, when president Boris Yeltsin resigned in a surprising move. Putin won the 2000 presidential election and in 2004 he was re-elected for a second term lasting until 7 May 2008.

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