Kasparov arrested in Moscow, jailed for five days

11/25/2007 – Russian police detained opposition leader and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, and a judge sentenced him to five days in jail in Moscow. About 3,000 protesters attended the rally, including for the first time the leader of one of the mainstream liberal parties – a sign that the movement is growing. News reports, video interview in Fox and a dramatic BBC report of the arrest.

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Garry Kasparov jailed over rally
Scuffles in Moscow – Former world chess champion and Russian opposition figure Garry Kasparov has been jailed for five days. He and other opposition figures were detained during a rally organised by Mr Kasparov's Other Russia coalition. About 3,000 protesters attended Saturday's rally, carrying banners and calling for the country to be rid of President Putin. The trouble broke out at the end of the rally when about 100 protesters tried to break through police lines. They began to march to the election commission and were stopped by riot police. Full story...

Watch the BBC video report


Kasparov speaking to the rally


Being man-handled by the special police and then taken away


Opposition Leader Kasparov Arrested in Moscow
United Civil Front leader Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion, was arrested and beaten by police on Saturday at the conclusion of a “Dissenters’ March” rally held by The Other Russia Coalition, which opposes the authoritarian government of Vladimir Putin. He and over 20 others are still in custody. Kasparov’s official statements will appear here at theotherrussia.org as soon as he is able to communicate.

The peaceful march of roughly 2000 people had mostly ended when a small group of marchers moved to continue to the building of the Central Election Committee to deliver a petition. The marchers were attacked by special forces police and dozens were taken away. When Kasparov, who was not among the delegation, walked over to see what was happening, he was grabbed by police and pushed onto a bus with other arrestees. (Below: AFP photo of Kasparov on the police bus after being arrested.)participation in the next day’s event. A similar march will take place in St. Petersburg on Sunday, Nov. 25.

Almost all of those detained were physically abused by the police, including Kasparov. Several of the activists who have been released exhibited serious injuries sustained while in custody. Kasparov and over a dozen others were taken before the Meschansky court and charged with participating in an illegal rally. Despite the judge’s promises that defense witnesses would be allowed, the OMON security forces formed a cordon to prevent anyone from entering the court. It is still unclear if Kasparov and the others will be released promptly. Full report...

Kasparov Sentenced to 5 Days in Prison for Moscow March
The judge at Meschansky court in Moscow has sentenced Other Russia coalition leader Garry Kasparov to five days in prison on a civil disobedience charge for leading an “unauthorized” rally. The exact terms and conditions of the sentence are not yet known and Kasparov remains in custody as of 11pm Moscow time on Saturday. In a brief call from the courthouse moments ago to notify friends and family, Kasparov stated that the court proceedings had been “a choreographed farce from beginning to end.” He added, “It was a symbol of what has happened to justice and the rule of law under Putin.” Kasparov reassured his family that he was well with “only a few bruises.”

The witnesses requested by the defense were not permitted to enter the courthouse and at one point the judge left, apparently to consult with her political masters, before announcing the decision. The police reports on the arrest presented in court were blatantly contradictory, which one of the officers in court freely admitted. Two of the OMON special forces officers admitted that prior to the march they had been given specific orders to arrest Kasparov. After hearing the sentence, Kasparov said, “Everything you have just read was lies. The officers’ testimony is contradictory and without a single word of truth.” Full report...

AFP: Russia braces for opposition protests after Kasparov arrest
Russian authorities geared for fresh protests Sunday, a day after opposition leader and chess legend Garry Kasparov was jailed for leading a march against President Vladimir Putin a week before parliamentary elections. Riot police flooded the centre of Saint Petersburg on Sunday to counter an unauthorised march of opponents to Putin. Kasparov was sentenced Saturday for five days for organising an unsanctioned rally and refusing to obey police orders, but told reporters the charges were "unfounded" and charged the Russian leader with taking recourse to scare tactics. "What happened in court today looks like something unthinkable. Procedure was grossly violated, naturally I will appeal, but there can be no talk of justice anymore," he said in comments broadcast by the Moscow Echo radio. "The authorities are going beyond all possible and impossible bounds, I call on all our supporters not to yield to the scare campaign," he said. Full report...


BBC News: Kasparov seized by Russian police
Russian police have detained opposition leader and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov. He and other critics of President Vladimir Putin were arrested as police broke up a rally in Moscow organised by Mr Kasparov's Other Russia coalition. Police moved in when protesters tried to march to the election commission, which had barred Other Russia candidates from next week's election. About 3,000 protesters attended Saturday's rally, carrying banners and calling for the country to be rid of President Putin. Attending the rally for the first time was the leader of one of the mainstream liberal parties – a sign that the movement is growing, says the BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow. Full report...

Wall Street Journal: Russian Police Detain Kasparov
Riot police on Saturday broke up an anti-Kremlin rally of several thousand people, detaining some of the protesters, including former chess champion Garry Kasparov and other opposition leaders. Mr. Kasparov, one of President Vladimir Putin's harshest critics, and other opposition politicians have come under growing pressure before Dec. 2 elections. The police, who had surrounded the rally, moved in when about 150 of the protesters broke through police lines and tried to march to the Central Elections Commission. The city gave the organizers permission to hold the rally but forbid them to march from the square to the Central Elections Commission. The protest was joined by several prominent politicians who had distanced themselves from Mr. Kasparov's opposition coalition in the past. Full report...

AFP: Former chess champion Kasparov arrested in Moscow opposition demo
Opposition leader and chess legend Garry Kasparov was arrested on Saturday after scuffling with riot police during a protest a week ahead of legislative elections, AFP reporters saw. Kasparov and one of his bodyguards were grabbed by riot police and forced into a police bus which then drove them away from the scene where hundreds of opposition activists were in a tense standoff with security forces. "Freedom! Freedom!" supporters shouted as the bus drove off in central Moscow, AFP journalists said. The arrest came after activists from the radical left-wing National Bolshevik party, a member of The Other Russia opposition coalition led by Kasparov, broke through police lines and marched down a main Moscow avenue. They were quickly joined by activists and leaders from other opposition groups who headed toward the offices of the Central Election Commission where they wanted to deliver a petition protesting the fairness of the upcoming vote. About half a dozen other activists were also arrested at the same location. ITAR-TASS said a total of around 20 people were detained. Full report...

AFP: Russian police raid Kasparov office as opposition picks leader
Russian police late Friday raided an office of The Other Russia coalition led by former chess champion Garry Kasparov, hours before he was to lead a march in Moscow against President Vladimir Putin. The coalition's spokeswoman Lyudmila Mamina told AFP that the police did not proffer any explanations for the raid in the office housing the party's website. "They had no documents, acted on the authority of some secret decree, so they could not say what it was about," she said. "They wrote down passport data of all our staff, drew a map of the office, and wrote down that they found nothing criminal, no drugs, no weapons." Full report...

VOA News: Russian Police Break Up Opposition March in Moscow
Russian police have broken up an opposition march in Moscow, and detained protest leader, former chess champion Garry Kasparov. 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. Full report...

Spiegel Online has an AP picture of Kasparov grappling with the police


Kasparov on Fox News

Yesterday we caught a Fox Newsreport which included an extensive interview with Garry Kasparov. Obviously this was taped some time before today's events in Moscow.

Fox' Paul Gigot asks Kasparov why he is making a seemingly hopeless run for the Presidency. Kasparov answers: "We are making a statement. It is very important for the Russian people to see that there is an alternative, although we know that this election cannot even be called an election. It is a fake, staged to cover up the police state built by Putin and his cronies. But we have to use every opportunity to carry our message and to tell the Russian public and the rest of the world that we are there and it is not as simple as Putin wants to pretend."

Paul Gigot tells Kasparov that he asked US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice why the G8 did push Putin out from their group is he is not behaving like a democratic leader, and she said: "It is much better to have him in the tent so we can talk to him and influence him, because outside it is going to be worse." To this Kasparov replies: "It is a nice theory, the problem is it did not work. Occasionally you have to look at the results of your brilliant theories."

Fox News: Nov. 23: Ex-Kremlin Insiders Join Russian Protest
Once they were pillars of Russia's political establishment, members of a pro-business party with a presence in parliament and influence in the halls of the Kremlin. But now the Union of Right Forces, or SPS, teeters on the edge of political extinction, and its leaders plan to join protesters in the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg this weekend to denounce President Vladimir Putin's rule. Putin has described the demonstrators as extremists determined to weaken Russia. But by tightening election rules and restricting access to Russia's political arena, the Kremlin has given even its most cautious, conservative rivals little choice but to take their opposition to the streets. Noted intellectuals such as former chess champion Garry Kasparov and the free-market economist Andrei Illarionov, once one of Putin's top advisers, months ago joined the opposition demonstrators. Full article...


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