MOSCOW-- The parliament chosen in a fraud-tainted election that set off protests throughout Russia has opened its first session with leading members calling for more genuine debate to win back the voters' trust.

Under Vladimir Putin, the parliament has served as little more than a rubber stamp for government initiatives. The outgoing speaker once famously said it was "not a place for political discussion."

Before Wednesday's session began, however, police broke up a small protest outside and arrested about a dozen people. Some wore signs saying "we didn't vote for you."

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the minority nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, says people would be less likely to protest if they saw real debates being held in the State Duma, the elected lower house.