originally posted at 19:18
MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti) – The head of an outlawed opposition party and two dozen activists were detained Saturday at unsanctioned rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg that were dispersed by police, the rally’s organizers and police said.
Eduard Limonov and at least 15 protesters were rounded up by police on Mayakovsky square in central Moscow after unfurling banners anti-Kremlin banners, the Strategy 31 group said on Twitter. It said another nine protesters were detained in St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city.
The group is named after Article 31 of the Russian constitution that guarantees free assembly.
Limonov, 70, is a popular novelist and head of the radical National Bolshevik Party that was outlawed in Russia in 2007.
Since 2009, rallies urging the Kremlin to allow the freedom of assembly have been held in Moscow and other Russian cities on the 31st of each month with that many days. The protests have routinely been dispersed by police, its participants briefly detained.
A Moscow police spokesman confirmed to RIA that 16 people were indeed detained at the rally.
They were all released late Saturday, Alexander Averin, spokesman for the banned National Bolsevik party, said on Twitter.
adds info on release of detained activists
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Some people are trying to make the reality in Russia at least a bit more humane. The amnesty should apply not only to persons involved in high-profile cases, but also to individuals who are not as well-known. It is better to set free at least some of the individuals who deserve to be released than no one at all.