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Russian opposition protests in Moscow to demand free elections

August 17, 2019

MOSCOW, Aug. 17 (DPA / EP) –

Supporters of the Russian opposition have held vigils in different parts of Moscow this Saturday to demand the release of prisoners for political reasons and the holding of free elections. The dispersion of the protest is the response to the authorities' decision to ban a single demonstration.

The Police have deployed an important security device which has not prevented the occurrence of small and quiet concentrations in different monuments in the center of the Russian capital called by organizations such as the opposition leader Alexei Navalni.

For several weeks there have been protests in Moscow to denounce the exclusion of opposition candidates from the City Hall elections scheduled for September 8. Last Saturday tens of thousands of people gathered to protest against this measure and against police repression and arrests, some 2,000.

One of the few opposition candidates not affected by the veto, Sergei Mitrojin, has participated in the vigils and has denounced that his presence on the ballots seeks to divide the opposition.

Between the concentrations of this Saturday, a convocation has been held by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and other left-wing organizations in which some 4,000 attendees – according to the Police – have called for clear and honest elections. This protest has been approved by the authorities.

Recent mobilizations are the most important since those of 2011-2013, when protesters took to the streets to report electoral fraud.