Police Break up Anti-Putin Protest in Moscow


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Police arrest protesters against Vladimir Putin outside the Moscow Central Election Commission. The demonstrators are calling for fair elections ahead of a presidential election planned for next month.

Police broke up a noisy demonstration by anti-Putin protesters outside the Central Electoral Commission in Moscow on Tuesday.

Protesters from opposition grouping "Other Russia" converged on the entrance to the building and started chanting "Russia without Putin."

They unfurled a banner calling for "an end to dictatorship."

Media on the scene say that police moved in to break up the demonstration, arresting about 15 protestors.

Tuesday's demonstration has become a weekly event, following the mass rally against the government of Putin on February 4th.

That's when tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets demanding fair elections ahead of the March 4th vote.

[Vera Lavreshina, Protester]:
"It isn't the people's will, but (the will) of those who play up to the president, those in United Russia, those in the presidential administration - that's the government. We don't decide anything and we have to fight against that."

Putin, who was president from 2000 until 2008, and now holds the office of prime minister is hoping to return to the presidency this year.

He ushered Dmitry Medevedev into the Kremlin because of a constitutional bar on three successive terms as head of state.

Although he became the prime minister, Putin has remained the dominant leader.

Russian public research group Levada Center predicts that Putin is expected by 78 percent of Russians to retake the presidency he held from 2000-2008.

Putin faces four opponents in the race.