Russian opposition holds protest march

Russian opposition holds protest march

Agency News

Moscow, 01 Sept, 2019: Rejecting the ban by authorities, Russia´s opposition held a new protest march in central Moscow on Saturday, a week before controversial regional polls in the capital.

Demonstrations have been happening on an almost weekly basis since July after authorities denied most opposition candidates registration in the elections for city parliament next Sunday.

Moscow prosecutors warned that the latest rally, called by Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny for 2 pm (1100 GMT) on part of the city´s Boulevard Ring, was not authorised and participants would "bear responsibility."

On social networks, Muscovites shared a photo of water cannons allegedly stationed along the route of the protest, dubbed the "March against political repressions."

Opposition politicians had requested permission to hold the march but were turned down. In the past, the Moscow polls have generated little public interest.

But this summer they have spiralled into the biggest political crisis since the wave of protests in 2011-2012 against Vladimir Putin´s return to the Kremlin. Authorities have launched a wide-ranging probe into "unrest" which could lead to long prison sentences for a number of suspects and made thousands of arrests.

Another probe has been launched against Navalny´s anti-corruption foundation, which has produced numerous videos alleging massive graft among officials at City Hall run by Putin´s ally, mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

Many of the candidates were told the signatures they gathered to qualify were invalid, with Putin alleging they were "falsifications."

But opposition candidates, such as politician Ilya Yashin, hit back, accusing Putin of lying and appealed this week to Russian Supreme Court to have his candidacy reinstated.