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Thursday, April 17, 2014  

Anti-Putin protesters plan civil disobedience drive
MOSCOW Russia’s opposition vowed to wage a campaign of civil disobedience on Tuesday after police detained hundreds in rallies against Vladimir Putin’s crushing victory in polls.

“Tens of thousands will be coming out on the streets of Moscow and other cities and refusing to leave,” popular blogger Alexei Navalny said after spending part of the night in detention.

“We will keep doing this until our demands are met.”

Navalny and two other leaders of the disparate anti-Putin opposition were due to attend hearings on Tuesday after refusing to break up a rally in Moscow late on Monday when given a police ultimatum.

Russia’s opposition said they feared Putin had decided to use force to smother their protests.  

The three main leaders of opposition movement faced court hearings on Tuesday after being released from police.

The popular blogger and anti-corruption fighter Alexei Navalny said he was among dozens of protesters held for most of the night by Moscow police.

The police intervention sent a clear signal that Putin is losing patience with opponents demanding more democracy, openness and political reforms, and will crack down if they step out of line.  

“Fear of his own people, the animal fear of losing power, and a reliance on the police baton - this is what we are seeing,” Boris Nemtsov, a liberal opposition leader, wrote in a blog.  

Britain will work with Putin to overcome differences between the two countries, Prime Minister David Cameron said after Putin’s victory.

Cameron said that he “looked forward to working with Putin to overcome the obstacles in the relationship between Britain and Russia and build deeper political and trade links.”  

British Foreign Secretary William Hague called for allegations of irregularities in Russia’s presidential election to be “thoroughly investigated.

Russia rebuked the US ambassador Michael McFaul via Twitter after he tweeted his concern at the detention of protesters.  

The ministry responded by saying the United States had used much less humane methods when dispersing anti-Wall Street protesters.  

Agencies
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