50,000 protest banning of opposition candidates from Moscow elections

Russian opposition supporters gather for a rally Saturday, Aug. 10, protesting the banning of candidates from Moscow elections scheduled for September. Photo by Yuri Kochetkov/EPA-EFE

Aug. 11 (UPI) — About 50,000 people took to the streets of Moscow to demonstrate for fair elections in the Russian capital’s largest protest in years.

The protesters, who obtained a permit prior to the demonstration, demanded that opposition candidates banned from City Council elections be returned to the ballot and called for authorities to release demonstrators detained by authorities during previous rallies.

The protest, the largest since crowds of people took to the streets to mourn slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in 2015, coincided with similar demonstrations of solidarity in cities across the country.

OVD Info, a police monitoring group, said at least 275 opposition protesters were detained across the country Saturday, including 178 in Moscow.

Several people were detained after the end of the sanctioned protest, when crowds marched toward a government building.

The demonstration was the latest since earlier in the summer, when officials announced multiple opposition candidates would not be allowed on the Moscow City Council election ballot. Officials alleged the candidates’ applications contained faked signatures.

Opposition supporters said the signature faking allegations were invented by President Vladimir Putin’s government to prevent opposition candidates from seeking office.


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