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Russian Police Block Opposition Protest


Russian police have blocked a planned opposition protest march in Moscow ahead of Wednesday's inauguration of Russia's new president, Dmitri Medvedev.

Hundreds of protesters who gathered Tuesday at a metro station in central Moscow were met by a phalanx of police and security agents. At one point, an opposition organizer used a police megaphone to urge protesters to disperse. Witnesses say at least one person was arrested as he unfurled a protest sign.

Elsewhere in the city, police staked out an apartment and blocked 17 opposition leaders from leaving to attend the rally.

The opposition activity is part of a series of so-called "Dissenter Marches" organized in the run-up to presidential elections in early March.

Mr. Medvedev is President Putin's handpicked successor, and the opposition claims his election victory was rigged.

Critics noted that the two candidates posing the most serious threat to the Medvedev candidacy, former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and former chess champion Garry Kasparov, were disqualified from the polls on technicalities.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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