Policemen detain Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny (C), in Moscow July 10, 2013. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
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A Russian judge on Friday convicted eight defendants of rioting and assaulting police at a protest against Vladimir Putin, in what one of his leading critics called a "show trial" designed to make clear the president would tolerate no dissent.Moscow police said they detained about 200 people for attempting to violate public order.The convictions, which activists had anticipated, coincided with political turmoil in neighbouring Ukraine, where dozens have died in violence the Kremlin blames on militant government opponents it accuses the West of encouraging. The defendants -- seven men and a woman mostly in their 20s -- were found guilty of rioting and violence against police at an opposition protest on May 6, 2012, the eve of Putin's inauguration for a third term as president. After starting the hearing more than three hours behind schedule, judge Natalya Nikishina abruptly ended it late in the afternoon and said she would pronounce the sentences on Monday.Repeating parts of the indictment word-for-word, Nikishina detailed how each defendant had attacked police.Nobody was killed at the 2012 protest and the defendants are not charged with endangering the lives or health of police.
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