Hundreds arrested as protests greet Vladimir Putin inauguration
Violent clashes in Moscow as Russian leader prepares to be sworn in as President
At least six people were taken to hospital, and around 15 riot police injured, while many opposition leaders were among nearly 600 people to be detained. Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the Moscow police had acted "softly" and should have been even more forceful.
The Russian leader won around 63 per cent of the vote in a March election, which gave him another presidential term after a four-year break during which he was prime minister. The opposition, a motley group of leftists, nationalists and democrats, alleged irregularities and branded Mr Putin's win illegitimate.
"We know that this isn't going to affect anything for now," said Margarita, 54, wearing the white ribbon protesters use to symbolise their opposition to Mr Putin. "But it was important to come out again and shout as loud as we can that there are normal, civilised people in this country who don't support the thief who is sitting in the Kremlin."
Protests began after parliamentary elections last December and brought tens of thousands of people on to the streets of Moscow several times. There was a sense the protest mood had died down as people realised Mr Putin's return was inevitable. But yesterday's events will make the Kremlin think again.
Riot police were massed in their thousands on Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge, which leads from Bolotnaya Square to the Kremlin, to ensure no protesters could make their way towards the seat of Russian power. Police used tear gas and made several arrests, dragging the detainees along the asphalt and also beating them with batons.
For perhaps the first time, protesters resisted en masse. In one skirmish, a riot police helmet went flying in the air, before its former owner emerged into the crowd with blood streaming down his face. He then lashed out at all those around him before colleagues dragged him away.
The police dispersed the crowds as evening fell, and anyone who did not oblige was detained and driven away to police stations. Opposition leaders could now face 15-day jail terms.
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart bromance continues: X-Men star gushes about 'pussy cat' BFF Patrick Stewart
David Cameron stung by jellyfish: PM hurt after ignoring advice of locals while on holiday
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Hollande's affair: Catherine Deneuve and Sophie Marceau in war of words over President's relationship with Julie Gayet
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband kit: Inside North Korea with the the Pyongyang marathon winner
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 KFC 'sorry' after lesbian couple are kicked out of Bath restaurant for 'heavy petting'
- 2 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...