'Occupy' movement in Moscow banned

May 15, 2012 at 9:31 AM
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MOSCOW, May 15 (UPI) -- Anti-government protesters in Moscow were ordered to end their sit-in after allegedly damaged downtown landscape, a city department said.

Demonstrators upset with the re-election of Russian President Vladimir Putin staged an occupation-style protest at various squares in Moscow.

Opposition leader Ilya Yashin was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying demonstrators were willing to work with local authorities but had no intention to give up their protest.

"We will not leave because no court decision can ban people from gathering in parks and on boulevards," he said.

Moscow's environmental department said demonstrators in Moscow were ordered to leave because they caused an estimated $650,000 worth of damage to the area landscape.

Organizers had said they would try to move to other parts of the city and continue their demonstration through June 12, a national holiday.

There were no reports of violence associated with the Moscow sit-ins.

Human Rights Watch had expressed concern about the situation in Russia following reports of police brutality during Putin's inauguration last week.

Putin's election to a third non-consecutive term was seen as clouded by voter fraud.

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