Russian police clash with Occupy protesters at two Moscow sites
After the Occupy Abai encampment is cleared, authorities confront anti-Putin demonstrators in a downtown square.
By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
May 16, 2012, 7:23 p.m.
MOSCOW — Russian riot police cleared a Moscow park early Wednesday of a weeklong encampment considered a local version of the Occupy movement, and hours later clashed with antigovernment protesters outside a Stalinist skyscraper in a different part of downtown.
The dispersal of several dozen protesters at the park encampment, called Occupy Abai, preceded a nighttime confrontation at Kudrinskaya Square, where several hundred protesters had gathered to oppose President Vladimir Putin. At the square, officers forced some protesters into police vans while others yelled angrily, saying they had the right to assemble freely.
"We have just witnessed once again how much respect the Kremlin has for constitutional guarantees, which are worth nothing in Russia," said opposition leader Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion. "This is absolutely outrageous."
The park encampment had attracted anywhere from dozens to thousands of supporters from day to day.