MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti)
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Most of the 300 protesters detained on Monday at a demonstration in downtown Moscow against alleged electoral fraud remain in custody as of Monday morning, police said.
Two rally leaders, anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and opposition activist Ilya Yashin, were delivered to court on Tuesday morning, said Navalny’s wife, Yulia, in a Twitter blog. Both face up to 15 days behind bars for refusing to obey police orders.
The demonstration - the largest opposition rally for many years in Moscow - was called to protest alleged violations during Sunday's parliamentary polls, in which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party just managed to hang onto its majority.
Police moved against the 5,000-strong rally after Yashin urged protesters to move towards the Kremlin.
Amnesty International called on the Russian authorities on Monday night to release the detained protestors, calling them “prisoners of conscience.”
"These disgraceful detentions highlight once again the failure of the Russian government to respect its citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and assembly," said Nicola Duckworth, the head of Amnesty’s Europe and Central Asia Program.
As the protests broke out, state-run TV channels continued to broadcast footage from a United Russia youth group event on Red Square. The concert stage at the rally, which ended before the demonstration began, was decorated with United Russia’s logo and the words “A Clean Victory.”
United Russia’s youth wing, the Nashi movement, have also demanded that Navalny be charged with violating election laws after he revealed preliminary voting results from polling stations in his blog on Sunday.
Several journalists from Reuters, Bloomberg and some Russian opposition media were briefly detained at the rally before being released.
Some 120 people were also detained at a similar protest in St. Petersburg on Monday evening.
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