MOSCOW: Russian police on Tuesday detained dozens of people in Moscow and Saint Petersburg who staged demonstrations to demand the right to assemble, Russian news agencies reported.
About 25 people were detained for attempting to hold an unsanctioned rally on Moscow's Triumfalnaya square, a regular opposition event staged on every 31st of the month, police told Russian news agencies.
Rights monitoring group Ovdinfo put the number arrested at 45.
In Saint Petersburg, nine protesters were detained, an AFP correspondent said, at a brief rally where demonstrators carried signs saying "We need a different Russia" and "I despise Putin".
Elected president in March for a third term at the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin has attracted widespread scorn from opposition figures who claim he only won through fraud, and mass anti-Putin protests have been held in Moscow.