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Putin's spokesman defends arrests of protesters
Vladimir Putin's spokesman defends arrest of hundreds protesting his election as president
By The Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) ' Vladimir Putin's spokesman is defending Russian's authorities' arrest of hundreds of demonstrators protesting the election that is returning Putin to the Kremlin.

Police on Monday night forcefully arrested protesters who remained on downtown Moscow's Pushkin Square after an officially approved rally finished. Those arrested included some main figures from anti-Putin protests that arose late last year.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday told the state news agency RIA Novosti that "the opposition action occurred in two parts ' the legal and the illegal. And in both ... parts police showed a high level of professionalism, legitimacy and effectiveness."

The statement indicates that authorities intend to continue to crack down on protests outside of specifically authorized gatherings.

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