Thousands Protest In Moscow Against Election Fraud

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First Posted: 24/12/11 12:15 Updated: 24/12/11 17:26   PA

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have rallied in the Russian capital in another huge protest against election fraud, signalling a growing outrage with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule.

Protesters gathered near the Kremlin in a demonstration as big as that of two weeks ago in the biggest show of discontent with the country's rulers since the end of communism 20 years ago.

Among those taking to the streets were former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, who called on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to resign according to Russian Radio.

Recent protests throughout the country have damaged Putin's authority as he seeks to reclaim the presidency in the poll next March. Protesters are urging for a rerun of the parliamentary elections earlier this month and for punishment of officials accused of fraud. The Kremilin has responded by proposing politival reforms that would liberalise election rules.

Other rallies are taking place across Russia including the first big protest in the far eastern city of Vladivostock.

More than 40 busloads of riot police on the street in Moscow, Rusian media says security is tight with access to Sakharov Avenue, where the protesters were congregating, briefly closed.

At least 28,000 people have turned out in Moscow, Russian interior ministry spokesman Valery Gribakin told Russian news agencies while a police spokesman told AFP news agency that there was room for 50,000 on the avenue.

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Filed by David Hobbs  |