[JURIST] Russian authorities on Sunday arrested [RIA Novosti report] former chess champion and Russian opposition political activist Garry Kasparov [personal website, in Russian; JURIST news archive] and others as they met to form a new political opposition group. Kasparaov's new organization [RIA Novosti report], Solidarnost, is reportedly an outgrowth an umbrella group, Other Russia, of which Kasparov's organization United Civil Front [party website, in Russian] was a member. The goal of Solidarnost is reportedly to "dismantle" the Putin regime [AFP report] in Russia. The protest is partially over a recently passed bill extending the presidential term [JURIST report] from four to six years. The protesters were arrested as they arrived [NYT report] at the organizational meeting, indicating police foreknowledge of the event.
This is not the first time Kasparov has been arrested at protests against alleged infringements of rights and constitutional freedoms in Russia. In November 2007, Kasparov was arrested [JURIST report] at a demonstration in Moscow against President Vladimir Putin [official website], two weeks before parliamentary elections. He accused police of brutality after being arrested [JURIST reports] at a similar rally in April 2007. Kasparov and fellow opposition leader former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov [BBC profile] have strongly criticized Putin and his allies in the run-up to December parliamentary elections and March 2008 presidential election. Kasparov has accused Putin of instituting a police state and creating a puppet judiciary [JURIST report] to persecute opposition leaders.