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Protests over Putin's 'rigged presidential vote' escalates fear of disorder in Russia

Moscow, Sun, 04 Mar 2012 ANI

Moscow, Mar 4(ANI): People opposing Prime Minister Vlamidir Putin's bid to become Russian president for a third time today, have revealed that they plan to get as close to the Kremlin as possible to register their protests.


There are fears of clashes that police and demonstrators could clash over Russia's presidential election.


A protest rally is expected to take place in Moscow's Pushkin Square though the demonstrators have said that their preferred venue would be under the walls of the Kremlin.


"We need to rise up and change our tactics. We need to put up tents; we need to go closer to the Kremlin. Article 31 of our constitution guarantees the right to free assembly. I'm going to walk down any street I like," The Telegraph quoted an opposition activist, Vadim Korovin, as saying.


"Commissars from Nashi [a fanatical Pro-Putin youth group] are already sharpening their fists. They told me they will stop people pitching tents and carry them off hand and foot. I'm sure the Kremlin will try to provoke violence. They want to blame the protesters, introduce a state of emergency, a curfew - and then use force. This is Putin's only way out," he added.


Disorder could potentially spread because of the highly charged atmosphere anticipated in the wake of rival pro and anti-Putin demonstrations scheduled to take place in central Moscow.


Russian Police have drafted 6,500 reserves, including special forces, and upto 35,000 officers will be on duty in Moscow in coming days.


An opposition leader, Ilya Ponomarev, said security sources informed him that 800 Chechen troops had been brought to the capital as a reserve to help crush protests if necessary.


Three subsequent protests in Russia over the election result has drawn tens of thousands of people, making them the largest since the fall of the Soviet Union.


Putin has taken a firm stance against the protesters and claimed that they were planning "provocations". (ANI)


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