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Police Clear Chistiye Prudy Camp, Arrest 20 Protesters

Police officers looking on as a sanitation worker cleans a statue of Abai Qunanbayuli on Chistoprudny Bulvar early Wednesday. Vasily Maximov

Early Wednesday police ordered opposition protesters camped out on Chistoprudny Bulvar to leave the area, ending a week-long occupation by the demonstrators.

Around 20 people were detained by police after they apparently refused to leave the camp voluntarily, Interfax reported. A police spokesman said the protesters would be released following a "preventive discussion."

By 6 a.m., no demonstrators remained in the area of the former camp centered around a statue of Kazakh poet Abai Qunanbayuli. Sanitation workers cleared the area of litter and sprayed down the statue of Qunanbayuli, whose first name gave the movement its unofficial name, Occupy Abai.

Basmanny Court on Tuesday ordered the camp at Chistiye Prudy closed in response to a lawsuit by residents of the area around the former camp who complained of inaction by authorities. (Related article: Court Orders Protest Camp Dismantled)

Leader of the liberal Yabloko party Sergei Mitrokhin called the police action illegal in a message on Twitter, saying he had filed an appeal of the Basmanny Court decision late Tuesday.

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