Russian cops violently break up Putin protest [View all]
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(AP) MOSCOW - Riot police on Monday broke up an opposition protest contesting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's victory in Russia's presidential election, arresting dozens of participants, including prominent opposition leaders.
The police action followed a rally in downtown Moscow that drew about 20,000 protesters angry over a campaign slanted in Putin's favor and reports of widespread violations in Sunday's ballot.
The big rally went on peacefully, but hundreds of police in full riot gear violently dispersed several hundred protesters who had vowed to stay on the iconic Pushkin Square in downtown Moscow until Putin steps down.
Police moved quickly to put out the protests, apparently fearing that it could act as a catalyst for bigger opposition action.