About 25 arrested in Moscow New Year's Eve protest

Associated Press
A person dressed up as Ded Moroz (Father Frost)  passes police officers during an unsanctioned rally in downtown  Moscow,  Russia, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. The Russian opposition protests on the 31st of each month are a nod to the 31st article of the Russian constitution, which guarantees the right of assembly. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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MOSCOW (AP) — About 25 people reportedly have been arrested in Moscow on New Year's Eve for trying to hold an unsanctioned protest.

The gathering at Triumphalnaya Square in central Moscow on Monday attracted 50 to 100 people.

Among those arrested was prominent radical writer Eduard Limonov; the Interfax news agency cited activists as saying about 25 people were taken into custody.

For about two years, activists have tried to rally on the 31st of each month with that many days, a reference to Article 31 of the Russian constitution that guarantees free assembly. Authorities routinely deny permission for the demonstrations. Limonov's faction has fallen out with other elements of the wave of opposition to President Vladimir Putin that arose last year.

In his New Year's Eve address, Putin made no reference to the protests of the past year, saying only of 2012 that "it was very important to us," according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

"We believe that we can change the life around us and become better ourselves, that we can become more heedful, compassionate, gracious" he was quoted as saying. Russia's fate "depends on our enthusiasm and labor."

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