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Putin cries as thousands of Russians protest his victory, seeing election fraud

Putin's victory in the Russian elections is due to voter fraud, activists claim.

Putin banner 2012 02 01Enlarge
Opposition activists hang their banner reading: 'Putin, leave!' atop a bulding's roof, just over the Moskva River river from the Kremlin (foreground) in Moscow, on February 1, 2012 (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Moscow today to protest Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's victory in the Russian elections. Putin had at least 63 percent of the vote by Sunday, but many people said that the election process was corrupt, the Associated Press reported

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"There was no real competition, and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt," Tonino Picula, head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told the AP. 

And a statement on the organization's website says that "the conditions for the campaign were clearly skewed in favour of one candidate."

Some of the protesters plan to create a tent city in Moscow, similar to the tactic used by Egyptian activists in Cairo’s Tahrir Square last year, The Globe and Mail reported

Opposition activists said they had recorded more than 4,000 accusations of vote-rigging and other types of election fraud, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The US has responded cautiously to the vote, limiting its congratulations to the civic effort of Russian people in a statement saying Washington "looks forward to working with the president-elect after the results are certified," reported the Associated Press

The statement from US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland today also raised "concerns about the conditions under which the campaign was conducted, the partisan use of government resources, and procedural irregularities," urging authorities to "conduct an independent, credible investigation of all reported electoral violations."

Meanwhile, tears were rolling down Putin's cheeks as he addressed a rally outside of the Kremlin, the Telegraph said. He maintained that the election had been an "open and honest battle."

Anticipating heavy protests, authorities deployed 12,000 riot police to Moscow. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/120305/russians-protest-putin-victory-seeing-election-fraud-putin-cries