Riot police dismantled early on Wednesday the downtown Moscow camp set up by anti-Putin activists following complaints by local residents.
A Moscow court had earlier obliged police to “take action to put a halt to disorder” at the camp, which was set up a week ago in the wake of protests against the May 7 inauguration of President Vladimir Putin for a third term.
Police officers arrived unexpectedly at the camp on a square in Moscow’s fashionable Chistye Prudy neighborhood and ordered the protesters to leave immediately.
Most of the protesters were pushed towards the nearest subway station, but 20 activists who offered resistance were briefly detained, according to police authorities.
A major clean-up operation is underway at the site of the camp, which has attracted activists of a variety of political persuasions, from anarchists to left-wingers, all apparently united only by their opposition to Putin.
The authorities alleged that the protesters had caused some $650,000 worth of damage to greenery during their stay, a claim denied by protest leaders.