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The April Replay: Russia Crushes Opposition March

kasparov1124.jpgIt’s just like a replay of last April, but perhaps even worse. According to some reports, more than 3,000 people marched in Moscow today against Putin – a protest which was quickly and in some cases violently suppressed by police. Garry Kasparov was thrown to the ground and beaten, and then sentenced to five days in jail on completely invented charges. This move against Garry marks an entirely new escalation – a demonstration of how far the state is willing to go to delegitimize and criminalize political dissent. Speaking to reporters in the courtroom before being hauled off to prison, Kasparov said: “What we see today is the implementation of Putin’s plan. … We should overcome the fear that the regime uses to sustain itself. For the Putin regime, our country is just a source of enrichment.” Given how often we are told by the Kremlin’s apologists that Kasparov is unimportant, they sure seem to be quite terrified of him, and are willing to break every law and norm possible to prevent him from carrying out harmless civic actions. After the cut, some video footage of the march and some photos. Tomorrow I hope to speak with some contacts in Russia and provide more information.

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Opposition supporters shout during a rally in central Moscow November 24, 2007. Around 3,000 people attended the protest in the centre of Moscow organised by the Garry Kasparov-led Other Russia group to demonstrate against a pro-Kremlin party’s stranglehold on politics ahead of parliamentary elections next month. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

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Russian riot policemen are seen through a shield as they block off a road during an opposition rally in central Moscow, November 24, 2007. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

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REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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Police officers detain human right activist Lev Ponomarev. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov