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Election flash mob encircles Moscow

MOSCOW, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Moscow police estimated 11,000 people took part in a political flash mob Sunday, forming a human chain that encircled the downtown area.

An opposition leader told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency the line of people locking arms stretched 9.5 miles, except in intersections which were kept clear to allow traffic to move.

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No trouble was reported by police, although the stunt had serious overtones. RIA Novosti said the participants were pressing demands for a fair presidential election on March 4.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win the vote. Opposition leaders have accused Putin and his supporters of rigging a series of recent elections and say they don't want the same thing to happen next month.

"I expect something to change," said protester Nikolai Simonov. "I want no more impunity for the authorities."

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