50,000 join latest protest over Moscow city council election
It is the fourth weekend in a row that a rally has been held on the capital’s streets over the issue.
Tens of thousands of people have joined one of Moscow’s biggest political protests in recent years, denouncing the exclusion of opposition and independent candidates from the Russian capital’s city council ballot.
The rally on Saturday was the fourth consecutive weekend demonstration in Moscow over the local election. The determined opposition has also prompted protests in other cities, reflecting widespread frustration with Russia’s tightly controlled politics.
An arrest monitoring group said 70 people were arrested in St Petersburg at an unsanctioned demonstration in support of the Moscow protests.
OVD-Info said 10 people were detained in connection with the Moscow rally, but it was not immediately clear on what grounds.
A group that monitors attendance of public meetings, Beliye Schetchik, said it counted about 50,000 people at the Moscow demonstration. A police estimate put the crowd at 20,000.
Unlike the previous Moscow protests, where police harshly dispersed the crowds and detained thousands of demonstrators, the latest gathering in a neighbourhood with relatively few passers-by was officially sanctioned.
It was held on a street flanked by high buildings and sandwiched between two busy thoroughfares.
Lyubov Sobol, one of the city council candidates denied a place on the ballot and a spearhead of the election protest, was among those detained in Moscow on Saturday.
A video on Ms Sobol’s Twitter feed showed officers breaking into her office as she demanded an explanation from them.