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People wearing orange Ribbons of St. George, a symbol widely associated with pro-Russian protests in Ukraine, at the ‘Anti-Maidan’ rally to protest against the 2014 Kiev uprising, in Moscow February 21, 2015. ― Reuters picPeople wearing orange Ribbons of St. George, a symbol widely associated with pro-Russian protests in Ukraine, at the ‘Anti-Maidan’ rally to protest against the 2014 Kiev uprising, in Moscow February 21, 2015. ― Reuters pic

MOSCOW, May 19 — A Russian court yesterday jailed a demonstrator for eight months for allegedly attacking police during a major anti-Kremlin protest in Moscow. 

Yury Kuliya was sent to prison after being detained over the March 26 protest that saw thousands of people take to the streets of the capital as part of the biggest wave of protests against President Vladimir Putin’s elite in years. 

Russian news agencies reported the authorities dropped a more serious charge that Kuliya threatened the lives of law enforcement officials. 

Kuliya was the first to be sentenced of four demonstrators facing lengthy jail terms for allegedly assaulting police at the anti-corruption protests called by opposition leader Alexei Navalny. 

Over 1,000 people were initially detained at the unsanctioned Moscow rally in March, with many serving short sentences of around two weeks. 

Russian authorities have previously been accused of going after demonstrators on trumped up charges in a bid to shut down protests against Putin’s rule.

Several dozen people were handed harsh jail terms slammed by rights activists after police cracked down on a huge 2012 rally against Putin’s return for a third term as president.  

Anti-graft campaigner Navalny has announced he intends to stand for president in an election next year that Putin is expected to compete in and win.  — AFP

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