Thousands demonstrate for free and fair regional elections

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More than 20,000 people take to the streets in Russia’s capital. They protest against the exclusion of opposition candidates in the local elections.

Thousands of people protested in the Russian capital Moscow for free and fair regional elections. “This is our country, our election,” chanted the demonstrators, who on Saturday responded to a call from opposition politicians. Independent protest observers spoke of more than 20,000 participants, and according to the authorities only about half of them took to the streets. The approved protest was largely quiet; nothing was known about arrests at first.

The main concern of the demonstrators was that independent candidates and opposition members would be allowed to be elected to the Moscow City Parliament in September. Previously, many politicians such as the prominent Kremlin critic Ilya Yashin had not been registered as candidates because they allegedly lacked the necessary signatures. Even the Human Rights Council of the Russian President had criticized the actions of the authorities.

For about a week now, hundreds of demonstrators in Moscow have been demanding the registration of candidates every evening. Dozens of people were recently arrested during the unauthorised protests. The well-known Kremlin critic Alexei Nawalny stressed on Saturday that the demonstrations should continue until the election commission puts the opposition politicians on the electoral lists. (dpa)

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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