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Thousands protest for fair elections in Moscow, largest in 8 years

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thousands-protest-for-fair-elections-in-moscow-amid-wider-crackdown-on-opposition-leaders

Bradford Betz

Aug. 10 2019

Frustration over the exclusion of opposition candidates from Moscow’s local election next month drew tens of thousands of protesters on Saturday, making it the city's largest protest rally in eight years, by some estimates.

The rally marked the fourth consecutive weekend of demonstrations of the Russian capital’s city council ballot. The demonstration has prompted protests in other cities, reflecting wider frustrations with Russia's tightly controlled politics.

AP19222530443095.jpg?ve=1&tl=1

[i\People show posters of detained protesters and the slogan reads "Give us right to vote" during a protest in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (AP)[/i]

Unlike the previous two Moscow rallies, where police harshly dispersed the crowds and arrested more than 1,000 protesters, Saturday's gathering was officially sanctioned.

Beliy Schetchik, a group that monitors attendance of public meetings, said it counted about 50,000 people at the demonstration, but police put that figure at 20,000. After the rally, hundreds of participants streamed to an area near the presidential administration building to continue with an unauthorized demonstration and were confronted by riot police.

OVD-info, an arrest-monitoring group, said 136 people were detained. The group also said that 86 people were arrested in St. Petersburg at an unsanctioned demonstration in support of the Moscow protests.

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