MOSCOW - Russian riot police broke up an Occupy-style protest against Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, forcing dozens of people out of a central Moscow park where they had staged a sit-in round-the-clock for a week and detaining at least 15.
Dispersal of the makeshift encampment was the latest step in a government crackdown on protests over Putin's return to the presidency on May 7 for a six-year term following four years as prime minister.
Police converged on the site at Chistiye Prudy park at about 5:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) and told some 50 people who had spent the night to leave, citing a court order issued on Tuesday requiring them to clear the area.
Police quickly moved protesters toward a nearby subway station and detained at least one person in the park, witnesses said. A Reuters reporter saw police arrest at least 14 others near the subway station.
"People were ready to gather their stuff and move, but they did not give us time, they just started pushing people out," said Alisa Obraztsova, a protester in her 20s.