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Russian Police Arrest Opposition Leaders in Illegal Protest

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Moscow police detained opposition leaders Alexey Navalny, Sergey Udaltsov, Ksenia Sobchak and Ilya Yashin for organizing an illegal protest in the Russian capital against President Vladimir Putin.

They have been held as “direct organizers and instigators” of the protest, according to statements on the Moscow police website. About 1,000 people gathered in Lubyanka Square, according to Bloomberg estimates. The four leaders were later released without being charged, RIA reported, citing their lawyer.

The event marks a year since the first mass protests against the 2011 election of then Prime Minister Putin’s ruling party to the lower chamber, which was marred by allegations of fraud.

The police estimated the number of demonstrators at about 700, with more than 300 of those being journalists and bloggers. Special forces police later dispersed the crowd and arrested 40 people after “repeated warnings” to leave the square, according to a statement.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jason Corcoran in Moscow at jcorcoran13@bloomberg.net Jake Rudnitsky in Moscow at jrudnitsky@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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