Chess grand master Kasparov arrested after protest

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov has been arrested along with other opposition leaders after leading protests against current Russian president Vladimir Putin. Kasparov, a prominent critic of Putin, founded the United Civil Front and named the Other Russia umbrella of opposition parties after retiring from chess.

The protest began peacefully, after a legal rally held by Kasparov and the other opposition leaders to protest what they see as unfair election practices including the barring of Other Russia candidates from running in the upcoming election. After the initial rally some of the demonstrators tried to march to the offices of the election commission.

Kasparov said that the government's response showed that the "the only language they can use with their own people is the language of violence, truncheons and riot police."

The ruling party United Russia has broad popular support and the state-controlled media have paid little attention to the opposition parties.

Others arrested included Maria Gaidar, daughter of former prime minister Yegor Gaidar and human-rights activist Lev Ponomaryov.