Clashes erupted when several thousand protesters tried to march on the Central Election Commission and about 150 of them broke through police lines Saturday. The Other Russia coalition had called a "March of the Dissenters" Saturday in Moscow, and Sunday in St. Petersburg to protest against the government of President Vladimir Putin. It was joined by the pro-business party, the Union of Right Forces.
Marches are also planned in other cities, including Nizhny Novgorod, Orel, Pskov, Tula, Tomsk, Ryazan, and Kaluga, Saturday and Sunday.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for December 2, and presidential elections in March.
The Union of Right Forces Friday nominated Boris Nemtsov as its candidate for president. The 48-year-old Nemtsov was the architect of the economic shock therapy under former President Boris Yeltsin and was a regional governor before becoming first deputy prime minister in 1997.
He is one of the founders of the Union of Right Forces. The pro-business party used to be supported by the Kremlin but the Putin government has marginalized the party.
There are more than 20 marches planned in Moscow Saturday by both opposition and pro-government groups, including rallies by Kremlin-backed youth groups and Communists. Over three thousand police and security forces are expected.
Streets in downtown Moscow are closed Saturday. - VOA News