The Nashi demonstrators have set up a stage with portraits of President Dmitry Medvedev and Premier Vladimir Putin on the square. They carry blue flags and Medvedev’s portraits with an inscription underneath saying, “My vote to Medvedev.”© RIA Novosti. Grigory Sysoev
MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti)
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- Arrests as Russians rally against ‘election fraud’
- Moscow police release election protesters
- Police detain nearly 200 protesters on election day
The United Russia party and its supporters rally in Moscow on Tuesday to celebrate victory in parliamentary polls, a day after hundreds were detained at the biggest opposition protest in the city for a decade.
“We will not let the Russian voting results be turned into a farce, and the free and democratic elections be discredited,” said a member of the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi standing near a stage adorned with portraits of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev.
Nashi said 15,000 members of the group were rallying near Red Square on Tuesday afternoon. Moscow police said 2,000 Nashi members were also gathered at a separate downtown Moscow location. A United Russia rally is also set for central Moscow later this evening.
An estimated 5,000 people marched in Moscow on Monday evening to protest alleged poll fraud. Some 300 people were detained as police moved in to stop the crowd heading towards the Kremlin, the unsanctioned location.
There have been calls on social networks for a repeat demonstration on Tuesday, raising the prospect of clashes between rival groups of demonstrators.
Media outlets and Internet social networks have reported buses and trucks carrying soldiers arriving in the centre of the city throughout the day. An Interior Ministry spokesman said this was part of planned security arrangements for the post-election period.
Putin's United Russia party saw a big slump in its share of the vote at Sunday's polls, although it just managed to hold onto its majority.
The elections were marred by allegations of massive electoral fraud. International observers from the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe reported "flagrant procedural violations," including cases of ballot-stuffing.
Andrei Isayev, a senior member of the United Russia party, said earlier on Tuesday that 10,000 party supporters would meet in Moscow later to respond to the opposition rally.
“We will not give up United Russia's victory,” Isayev said.
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