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Anti-Putin protesters rally on anniversary of 2012 rally arrests

May 5, 2013 at 7:58 PM

MOSCOW, May 5 (UPI) -- Hundreds of protesters in Moscow Sunday called for the release of prisoners arrested last year at a rally against President Vladimir Putin, police said.

The protest was held on the eve of a much larger anti-Putin rally scheduled for Monday evening, which would be the first this year to be put together by protest leaders such as Alexei Navalny, who faces prison time on embezzlement charges he said are politically motivated, RIA Novosti reported.

Four hundred people attended the rally, police said, but RIA Novosti said up to 1,000 people showed up. No arrests were reported.

Mikhail Anshakov, one of the rally's organizers, said the demonstration was designed to give "working people" a chance to show support for the almost 30 people detained since the May 6, 2012, protest.

Anti-Putin individuals said the clashes between protesters and police and protesters last year were provoked by police which, in turn, permitted them to clamp down on dissent.

The Kremlin's human rights council also said the police started the violence.

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