1,400 arrested at Moscow election protest

Russian Authorities Harass Opposition Ahead of Key Moscow Elections video player

Russian Authorities Harass Opposition Ahead of Key Moscow Elections video player

Protestors demanded that city authorities to reverse decisions excluding key opposition candidates from local body polls.

Russian police wrestled with demonstrators and arrested hundreds of people in central Moscow on Saturday at a protest demanding that opposition candidates be allowed to run for the Moscow city council. They were released later in the day only to be re-arrested again in the evening.

After the opposition threatened an even bigger rally on July 27 outside the mayor's offices, Navalny was jailed and several disqualified candidates had their apartments and campaign offices searched in night-time raids.

The overwhelming majority of people were soon released but 150 remain in custody, the group as well as a lawyers' association providing legal aid to the detainees said.

Police used batons on protesters as they tried to gather outside city hall on Saturday, and AFP reporters at the scene saw demonstrators with injuries. They were originally set up near the mayor's office before being relocated by police towards the side streets.

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Ilya Yashin, an ally of Navalny, reported on Facebook that he had also been detained hours before the demonstration following a raid on his house, and had been taken out of the Russian capital.

Many Russians were not happy about the decision on the disqualification of the opposition candidates by the authorities, so they chose to protest on Saturday despite the circumstances following the prior arrest of Alexi.

On Wednesday, July 24, Moscow's Investigative Committee opened a criminal case in response to the opposition's protests against election officials' refusal to register dozens of independent candidates in upcoming City Duma elections.

The rally comes amid wider public frustration over declining living standards that has hit President Vladimir Putin's approval ratings.

Navalny hoped to stand against President Vladimir Putin in an election past year but was barred because of a fraud conviction he and supporters say was politically motivated.

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Navalny was arrested while out jogging on Wednesday and is now serving a 30-day sentence for his role in organizing the demonstration.

Russia's most prominent opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, has been taken from jail to a hospital in Moscow.

CNN witnessed clashes between protesters and police, with at least two protesters left with bloodied faces. State news agencies Tass and RIA-Novosti cited police as saying 1,074 were arrested during the protests, which ran for seven hours.

"Russian authorities today hit a new low by imposing military law-like security measures on the unsanctioned rally, blocking access to major Moscow streets and shutting down businesses in advance of the demonstration, despite the absence of credible reports of potential violence".

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