Published: Sun, July 28, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Hundreds of people arrested at Moscow free elections protest

Hundreds of people arrested at Moscow free elections protest

Police officers have detained nearly 300 participants of an unauthorized rally in central Moscow, the press service of the Moscow Main Directorate of the Interior Ministry told TASS. OVD-Info, an organization that monitors political arrests, said about 50 people had been detain.

In Moscow, demonstrators said they were exhausted of blatant corruption associated with an expensive makeover program that has torn up and replaced sidewalks and streets across the city of almost 13 million people. As in past sweeps, many were only held for a matter of hours. State news agencies Tass and RIA-Novosti cited police as saying 1,074 were arrested over the course of the protests, which lasted more than seven hours.

Before the protest, police detained activists to prevent them from attending the protest and blocked off some streets.

Moscow police earlier said 295 people had been taken in, but did not immediately give a final figure.

A number of opposition politicians' names were banned from the ballot for the September city council vote, after election officials claimed they had not gathered enough signatures to qualify.

Police had detained 648 people by Saturday afternoon, according to the OVD-Info group, an independent monitor that tracks police departments in Russian Federation. No details on what charges they could face have been released.

Moscow police detained more than 1,000 people at a protest for free municipal elections that followed a crackdown on opposition leaders.

Police put participation at more than 3500 people, of whom it said around 700 people were journalists and bloggers. They were originally set up near the mayor's office before being relocated by police towards the side streets.

'According to information from law enforcement authorities serious provocations are being prepared which pose a threat to the safety, lives and health of people, ' Sobyanin said in a statement. The opposition candidates say they've been kept from the ballot for political reasons.

Video of the raid Saturday, which was shown via YouTube, showed police barging in, ordering at least one staff member to lie on the floor and pushing furniture aside. He, too, was arrested earlier this week and sentenced to 30 days in jail for organizing an authorized demonstration.

According to the Moscow Investigative Committee's head office, "the participants of one of the movements have organized deliberately illegal and unpermitted rallies and public pickets at buildings and Moscow Election Commission premises, with the goal of exerting pressure on members of the city's election commission and local district election commissions".

The demonstrators were protesting to demand opposition candidates be allowed to take part in Moscow's city council elections, after authorities barred several this month, setting off widespread anger among the city's liberal society.

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