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Published: Sunday, 3/18/2012

Moscow police detain 100 at protest against pro-Kremlin TV station

ASSOCIATED PRESS

MOSCOW — Russian police detained about 100 people protesting Sunday outside a television station loyal to the Kremlin after it aired a documentary-style program that portrayed the opposition as paid agents of the U.S.

The NTV program “Anatomy of a Protest” suggested that opposition leaders were intent on overthrowing the government, and that migrant workers and others were being paid to attend recent protests against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The program, which aired Thursday, triggered a flood of angry tweets and comments on social networking websites.

About 1,000 people took part in Sunday’s protest, chanting “Shame on NTV” and “Russia without Putin.” Many wore the white ribbons that have become a symbol of the protest movement. Drivers passing by honked their horns in support.

Sergei Udaltsov, an opposition leader who had already been detained twice this month at protests following Putin’s victory in a March 4 presidential election, was among those detained Sunday. Udaltsov and others detained at the beginning of the protest were released a few hours later. It was unclear whether police would hold anyone overnight.

Shortly after Putin came to power in 2000, he engineered the takeover of the private NTV network by the state-controlled gas company Gazprom. In recent months, after the unprecedented protests against Putin drew tens of thousands to the streets of Moscow, it has been NTV rather than the two state television networks that has broadcast some of the nastiest attacks on the opposition.

More than 20 people were detained at an anti-Putin protest Saturday. All were later released.



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