Kasparov arrested during Moscow rally
Riot police in Moscow broke up an anti-Kremlin rally of about 3,000 people on Saturday, detaining dozens of protesters, including former chess champion Garry Kasparov and other opposition leaders.
Kasparov was forced to the ground and beaten, his assistant Marina Litvinovich said in a telephone interview from outside the police station where he was held.
Kasparov was later takento a city court, where he was sentenced tofive days injail fororganizing an unauthorized protest and resisting arrest.
The former world chess champion heads a small but diversecoalition known as Other Russia, which has been challenging what it refers to as President Vladimir Putin's eight years of authoritarian rule.
"What you've heard is all lies," Kasparov said after the sentence was read. "The testimony is contradictory. There was not a single word of truth."
Two riot police testified in court that they had been given direct orders before the rally to arrest Kasparov, one of Putin's harshest critics. One of the policemen acknowledged the two reports he filed were contradictory.
Kasparov told AP Television prior to being detainedthat the Kremlin uses fear to strengthen Putin's authority and its leaders are using the office "as a source of enrichment."
Protesters were stopped and several were pushed into three police buses after they tried to walk to the Central Election Commission building to deliver a petition.
Among the detainees wasEduard Limonov, leader of the National Bolshevik Party.
The incident occurred ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for Dec. 2.
Putin has said he will not run for a third presidential term as it's prohibited by theconstitution, but that hewill continue to play a role in Russian politics.
The pro-Kremlin United Russia party has putPutin at the top of its list of candidates in the parliamentary election.
Kasparov has stated his intentions to run for the presidency next March, but anumber of opposition parties in his coalition, including his own United Civil Front, have been denied registration for the upcoming parliamentary vote.
With files from the Associated Press