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Leftist leader among protesters arrested in Moscow

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 12:30 PM EST, Sat March 10, 2012
Sergei Udaltsov addresses protesters in Moscow shortly before his detention by police on Saturday.
Sergei Udaltsov addresses protesters in Moscow shortly before his detention by police on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Three protesters are arrested Saturday, including Sergei Udaltsov
  • Udaltsov is the leader of a leftist radical group called the Left Front
  • He has openly criticized Vladimir Putin's election to a six-year term as Russian president
  • Police said the protesters are in the process of being released and due for trial Tuesday

Moscow (CNN) -- Moscow police arrested three protesters Saturday, including leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov, who has openly criticized Vladimir Putin's recent election to a six-year term as Russia's president.

Authorities arrested the protesters "for organizing of provocation," according to police spokesman Maxim Kolosvetov.

Police said the protesters are in the process of being released and are expected to appear for trial on Tuesday.

Udaltsov, the leader of a leftist radical group called the Left Front and who has used social media to try to organize political rallies in Moscow, has also voiced direct criticism of Putin, who has served as prime minister since 2008.

Putin recently won the country's presidential election with nearly 65% of the vote, claiming victory amid allegations by independent polling monitors of widespread electoral violations.

The former KGB officer, who has worked to both stabilize Russia's economy and curtail dissent, held the presidency for eight years before term limits forced him to step down in 2008.

His election this month followed a series of anti-Kremlin protests in the wake of disputed parliamentary elections that took place in December.

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