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Elderly Man Roughed Up as Election Rally Turns to Boos

St. Petersburg resident Nikolai Shkalin, 72, became one of the first real victims of the ongoing parliamentary campaign, sustaining a broken hand at a local rally crashed by a candidate of the ruling party.

Several city media outlets reported that Shkalin was thrown down from the stage by bodyguards of the candidate, Maxim Dolgopolov, during Sunday's rally, where some 700 residents protested development plans for the district.

video from the scene shows Dolgopolov booed off the stage by protesters — many of them senior citizens — who clapped their hands and chanted "Go away!" and "Off with you!"

Several protesters, all young opposition activists, were detained and face hooliganism charges, the Neva24 web site said. Shkalin, a co-organizer of the rally, was hospitalized.

Dolgopolov denounced the incident as provocation and said he did not see the attack on Shkalin, which was not caught on video.

He did not identify the alleged provocateurs, but said in a blog post Monday that he came to tell the locals that the new city governor, Georgy Poltavchenko, had addressed their concerns after Dolgopolov's lobbying.

No officials commented on the story Monday.

Earlier this month, an alleged United Russia official was booed off stage at a concert of the veteran rock band Mashina Vremeni in Kemerovo. The group later denounced his appearance as provocation.

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