Russian opposition activist goes on hunger strike

A03990248.jpgST PETERSBURG, Russia – A Russian opposition activist jailed for two months for taking part in anti-Kremlin protests has gone on a hunger strike, his liberal Yabloko party said on Wednesday.

Maxim Reznik, head of the Yabloko branch in St Petersburg, was detained on Sunday shortly after polls closed in a presidential election which Dmitry Medvedev, backed by outgoing President Vladimir Putin, won by a landslide.

On Tuesday, a court in Russia’s second city extended his detention in a local jail by two months for an alleged attack on a policeman during the protests.

“He refused to take food once he was detained,” Alexander Shurshev, a senior Yabloko activist, told Reuters. “On Tuesday he filed an official statement on starting a hunger strike.”

Western observers criticized Sunday’s election, in which Medvedev won more than 72 percent of the ballot, as not fully democratic. Opposition candidates were either barred from running or refused to take part in protest.

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