RIA Novosti, the largest Russian news agency, reports that leading Russian writers spearheaded a 10,000 person protest against President Vladimir Putin's rule:

A host of Russian literary figures led thousands of people through the squares and boulevards of downtown Moscow on Sunday afternoon to an opposition camp that has become the epicenter of the challenge to the rule of President Vladimir Putin.

“The authorities have to understand that they need to be respectful when they talk to the people,” bestselling author Boris Akunin told supporters. “If they chase after them with truncheons, nothing good will come of this. The more aggressive they are, the quicker everything will end for them.”

Organizers and independent media said over 10,000 people had attended Sunday’s event, one of the largest unsanctioned opposition gatherings in recent years in Russia. Police said 2,000 people were present.

Detective novel writer Akunin, popular poet Dmitry Bykov, and around ten other writers announced Sunday’s “Test Stroll” after some 600 people were detained as they gathered at downtown Moscow landmarks in the wake of Putin’s May 7 inauguration. Protest leaders alleged arbitrary and illegal arrests of anti-Putin activists.

More after the jump.

Originally Published: May 14th, 2012