Thousands protests against Putin after vote

After Russian election, thousands call for end to Putin rule; White House, Clinton express "serious concerns" about election.

By REUTERS
December 5, 2011 21:56
1 minute read.
Protesters in Russia.

Russia anti-Putin protests 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mikhail Voskresensky )

 
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MOSCOW - Several thousand people protested in central Moscow on Monday against what they said was a fraudulent parliamentary election, shouting "Revolution!" and calling for an end to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's rule.

The protest, a day after an election in which Russians sharply reduced the parliamentary majority held by Putin's United Russia party, appeared to be one of the biggest opposition demonstrations in Russia in years.

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Protesters initially gathered in the rain on a tree-lined boulevard where they had permission for a rally. They denounced the vote as shameful and shouted "Russia without Putin!"

Many protesters then tried to march out onto a major street and were confronted by a chain of police officers who locked elbows and divided the surging crowd into two parts. Several people were detained in the area.

Several dozen protesters managed to break through or circle around the police and marched toward the Kremlin. Police detained at least 30 near the Kremlin and bundled them into buses.

The White House has "serious concerns" about the conduct of Russia's parliamentary elections, a spokesman said on Monday.

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"We have serious concerns about the conduct of those ... elections," White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a daily news briefing.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier Monday that she had "serious concerns" about the conduct of Russia's parliamentary elections and Russians deserved a full investigation of all reported irregularities.

Speaking on the sidelines of an international conference on Afghanistan, Clinton added in remarks to reporters that she was troubled by reports that the Russian Golos election monitor had suffered cyber attacks.

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