Tens of thousands attend huge Moscow protest


Protesters hold a Russian flag during a demonstration in Moscow on 10 August 2019Image copyright

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Thousands of demonstrators demanded free elections in a rally in Moscow

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken part in a rally in Moscow to demand fair elections.

It is the fourth major protest over the banning of opposition candidates in local elections in the Russian capital in a month.

It was authorised by the city authorities, unlike the last two rallies which ended in violence and arrests.

Organisers say nearly 50,000 people took part despite heavy rain.

But police estimates suggested the figure was less than half of that.

The organisers also called for an unauthorised march through the city centre afterwards, raising the prospect of further clashes with police.

Dozens of people have been detained since the official rally ended.

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Police officers attended the protest in riot gear

The police presence in the demonstration area in central Moscow included officers in riot gear.

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Thousands gather to demand authorities allow opposition candidates to run in a local election

An organisation that tracks participants in demonstrations, The White Counter, counted 49,900 people at the authorised march.

Some protesters carried placards with slogans such as “Give us the right to vote!” and “You’ve lied to us enough”.

Others held up pictures of activists arrested at earlier demonstrations.

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Russian opposition figure Lyubov Sobol was detained near her office in Moscow

Opposition politician, Lyubov Sobol, an ally of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, was detained by police ahead of today’s protest.

The two leaders had called for people to take part in an unauthorised “stroll” after the sanctioned rally.

Around 600 people were arrested after an unauthorised protest last weekend, amid reports of police violence. More than 1,000 were detained the week before.

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