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Tens of thousands rally in Moscow against election fraud. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP/Press Association Images

Massive protests take place in Russia over alleged election fraud

Tens of thousands of Russians have taken to the streets of Moscow to protest against alleged election fraud.

TENS OF THOUSANDS of people have taken to the streets of Moscow to protest against Vladimir Putin’s government.

The rally was organised against alleged election fraud but has also highlighted the public’s growing unease with Putin’s 12-year-rule.

Chants of “Russia without Putin” could be heard across the 2.5km avenue in the capital.

Although there has been a vast difference in the reported number of people who have turned out at the demonstration, it is understood that the protest is larger than any seen at the Kremlin since the Soviet collapsed in 1991.

Police say just 28,000 Russians have gathered in the capital today but organisers claim there are 120,000 people present.

Sky News reporters have put the numbers at tens of thousands, stating it seems larger than a 40,000-strong protest that took place earlier this month.

Protesters want to show their anger over disputed parliamentary elections which saw Putin’s United Russia party maintain a majority despite losing 25 per cent of its seats.

Famous journalists, writers, opposition leaders and bloggers are all expected to speak to demonstrators throughout the day. Sky News has reported that Mikhail Gorbachev may also address the crowds.

The former Soviet leader has previously called for a re-run of the last general election.

The government has promised reforms, such as allowing governors to be appointed through elections rather than by the Kremlin in the future. However, these changes may not be enough to satisfy protesters who want the latest vote to be discounted altogether.

Demonstrators have been further angered by Putin’s dismissive attitude toward them. Calling protesters stooges of the West, he said he mistook the white ribbons worn by them as condoms.

The protests have affected Putin’s authority as he seeks to reclaim the presidency early next year, retaking the post he held from 2000 to 2008.

-Additional reporting by AP

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