Russian Police Clash with Kremlin Critics

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Riot police detain dozens of protesters who are critical of the Kremlin, including leading opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, in central Moscow on Sunday. The arrest came even though rights group Amnesty International asked authorities to allow the rally.

At least 100 people gathered at a protest against what they say is a long-running Kremlin campaign to dismantle rights guaranteed in the Russian constitution to peaceful protest.

It is one of the few avenues open to Russia's fragmented opposition.

[Alexey Simonov, Glasnost Protection Fund President]: (Russian, Male)
"The people must remember that in fact they will have to live either according to a jail law or according to constitution."

At a similar rally on December 31 last year, police detained 82-year-old Soviet-era activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva. The move brought criticism from the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

A senior officer followed Alexeyeva throughout Sunday's rally in an apparent effort to prevent his colleagues from detaining her. She screamed repeatedly when a line of policemen surged towards her.

Moscow authorities told organizers that another event, "Winter Fun", was taking place in the centre of Moscow. Opposition groups say the authorities routinely organize alternative events as an excuse to deny them access to central squares.

Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, is leader of the opposition group Solidarity and one of the toughest critics of the Kremlin, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

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