Russian Crackdown on Election Protesters

 In Foreign

Moscow, Russia: Over 1,000 protesters were detained in a major Russian crackdown over the weekend. They demonstrated against the government’s position that opposition leader Alexei Navalny would not be on the ballot in September.

The September vote is for municipal elections. Opposition leaders say that Navalny was barred from the ballot because of a failure to gather enough legitimate signatures to be on it.

Reuters reported,

OVD-Info, an independent monitoring group, said police detained at least 1,373 people before or at Saturday’s protest. As in past sweeps, many were only held for a matter of hours.

Police put participation at more than 3,500 people, of whom it said around 700 people were journalists and bloggers. Activists said the number attending was likely to have been much higher.

Some activists were arrested twice after being released and then returning to protest in a different place. Reuters witnesses said some of those detained appeared to be ordinary passersby in the wrong place at the wrong time.

One of those detained, Alexander Latyshev, 45, said he had came from the nearby Vladimir region to discuss business with an associate and been randomly detained. “I was just sitting on a bench (when they took me),” he told Reuters inside a police bus.

Russian reporters were detained, and one TV station said that police attempted to intimidate them by summoning it editor.

“Amid violent crackdown on #MoscowProtests, the police came at the studio of independent TV station @tvrain and summoned its editor @alperepelova for questioning. We firmly condemn this new intimidation attempt! #Russia RSF – Reporters Without Borders Tweet

Police also raided the offices of Navalny supporters.

Navalny was jailed on Wednesday, but activists are threatening another protest next Saturday. The protesters this weekend did not have “permission” to hold the demonstration. Last weekend activists did hold a “sanctioned” protest calling for disbarred candidates to be registered.

For his part, President Vladimir Putin led a Naval parade after the violent Russian crackdown on protesters.

Navalny was given 30 days of detention for his part calling for the rally. The protesters remained peaceful, the Russian police did not.

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