On 5 December approximately four thousand democratic group supporters gathered at Clean Ponds to peacefully protest against the falsification of results of the parliamentary elections to the State Duma in favour of the One Russia party led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The demonstration was broken up by the OMON special forces of the Russian police, which arrested over 250 individuals, and according to some sources over 300 people. On 6 December one of the leaders of the opposition Solidarity movement — Ilya Yashin — was sentenced to 15 days in jail. Furthermore, many other well-known journalists and politicians were detained. These included leaders of the liberal Solidarity movement and the Yabloko democratic party: Boris Nemtsov and Sergey Mitrokhin, the chair of the Memorial society Oleg Orlov and the leader of the Other Russia party — Eduard Limonov. Also detained was Ilya Ponomarev — a member of the Duma from the Just Russia party. Furthermore, several journalists were arrested including Elena Kostyuchenko from Novaya Gazeta, Bozena Rynska from an online newspaper gazeta.ru and Aleksandr Czernych from Kommersant. The latter was severely beaten.
In a statement issued on 6 December High Representative Catherine Ashton stressed the need for the Russian authorities to respect freedom of association and of speech. What, further action is the European Union therefore going to take regarding the Russian authorities in the context of numerous human rights violations?