Mar. 10 - Crowds gather amid heavy security in Moscow to challenge Vladimir Putin's presidential election victory. Sunita Rappai reports.
'Russia without Putin" - the chant by thousands of demonstrators gathered in central Moscow to protest last Sunday's presidential poll. Holding flags representing several political parties, they listen to opposition activists, journalists and vote monitors who accuse president-elect Vladimir Putin of cheating. Amongst them, former chess master Garry Kasparov, who urged the crowd to keep fighting. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) OPPOSITION LEADER GARRY KASPAROV "The most awful thing that can happen is that we lose heart, that we let this government win finally and say we no longer have a chance." Others like 'Left Front' leader Sergei Udaltsov were more vocal. He told protesters it's important to remind thieves and crooks in the Kremlin where the real power is - with the people. Protest leaders were hoping for a high turnout to maintain pressure on Putin but numbers were significantly lower than the 50,000 expected. Authorities were taking no chances however with hundreds of police and security personnel stationed across the city before the rally. Putin says he won his six-year term as Kremlin chief, fairly, but European vote monitors have echoed opposition complaints that the election was slanted to favour him. Sunita Rappai, Reuters