Russian police accidentally arrest only Vladimir Putin supporter in crowd of anti-Putin demonstrators

Man defends the President for making Russia strong again before being dragged off by riot police

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The Independent Online

Vladimir Putin supporter was dragged away by police at a protest in Moscow despite expressing his support for the Russian leader. 

The unidentified man was being interviewed by journalists when he was seized by officers in riot gear – even though he had praised Mr Putin for making the country strong again.

He was in the vicinity of a protest about plans to tear down Soviet-era apartment buildings across the capital.

More than 4,500 buildings will be destroyed and 1.6 million people will be forced to relocate after the Russian Duma, or parliament, voted overwhelmingly to allow Moscow City Hall to proceed with the plans. 

The redevelopment project, one of Russia's largest, has rattled many in Moscow who see the plans as an encroachment on their constitutional rights. 

Some have also claimed it is a ruse to evict them from leafy neighbourhoods to high-rise ones on the city's outskirts.

The Moscow government insists that the buildings are dilapidated and their maintenance too costly.

As dozens rallied outside one the buildings earmarked for demolition, protesters shouted: “For shame!”

It is unclear why the Putin supporter was at the demonstration but when he was interviewed, he justified the arrest of a protester behind him by claiming he had threatened to detonate a bomb.

A woman behind the camera said she heard no such threat, insisting the man had shouted: “Putin is a thief”. 

In an attempt to defend his president, the man begins said: “Well you know what? In 2000 when Putin was elected for the first time, I said then, he had been Prime Minister for only two years by that time so I said back then ‘let him take as much as he can to only make Russia...’”

Before he could finish his sentence, he was dragged off by five or six riot police.

People on the video are then heard laughing that a member of “Nod” had been arrested at an anti-Putin rally.

Nod, or National Liberation Movement in English, is a far-right, nationalist group which calls for the return of Russian “sovereignty” which it believes became subordinate to the US after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Additional reporting by AP

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