Vote demos clash with Moscow police
Demonstrators trying to hold a second day of protests against vote fraud in Russia's parliamentary elections have clashed with police in Moscow.
Hundreds of officers blocked off Triumphal Square, then began chasing about 100 demonstrators, seizing some and throwing them into police vehicles.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party saw a significant drop in support in Sunday's election but it will still have a majority in parliament. Opponents say even that watered-down victory was due to massive vote fraud.
In neighbouring Lithuania, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again criticised the Russian election and urged that widespread reports of voting fraud be investigated.
Some Moscow demonstrators shouted "Putin is a crook and a thief!" referring both to the alleged election fraud and to widespread complaints that United Russia is one of the prime reasons for Russia's endemic corruption.
Among the detained was Boris Nemtsov, a leader of the liberal opposition, along with prominent radical Eduard Limonov and Oleg Orlov, head of the renowned human rights group Memorial.
Hundreds of young men with emblems of United Russia's youth wing, the Young Guards, also gathered on the outskirts of the square and tauntingly chanted "Putin victory!" Large crowds also gathered on a square in St Petersburg, outnumbering police.
United Russia won slightly less than 50% of Sunday's vote, according to nearly complete preliminary results. Although that gives the party an absolute majority in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, it is a significant drop from the 2007 election when the party got a two-thirds majority, enough to change the constitution unchallenged.
Yet Sunday's election results reflected public fatigue with Putin's authoritarian streak and with official corruption in Russia, signalling that his return to the presidency in next March's election may not be as trouble-free as he expected.
Mr Putin, meanwhile, called his party's reduced number of seats in Sunday's parliamentary election an "inevitable" result of voters always being dissatisfied with the party in power. He also dismissed allegations of corruption among his United Russia party members, calling it a "cliche" that the party had to fight.