Po­lice break up Moscow rally

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - News | Tributes Services Announceme­nts - BY JIM HEINTZ

Po­lice cracked down hard on an un­sanc­tioned demon­stra­tion in Moscow for a sec­ond week­end in a row, de­tain­ing more than 600 peo­ple protest­ing the ex­clu­sion of some in­de­pen­dent and op­po­si­tion can­di­dates from Septem­ber city coun­cil elec­tions.

The is­sue taps grow­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion with a po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment dom­i­nated by the Krem­li­naligned United Rus­sia party, in which dis­sent­ing voices are marginal­ized, ig­nored or re­pressed.

An ar­rest-mon­i­tor­ing group, OVD-Info, said 685 peo­ple were de­tained Satur­day. The Russian In­te­rior Min­istry said the num­ber was about 600.

The de­ten­tions came a week af­ter author­i­ties ar­rested nearly 1,400 peo­ple at a sim­i­lar protest.

Lyubov Sobol, one of the ex­cluded can­di­dates and a driv­ing fig­ure of the cur­rent wave of protests, was among those de­tained. She was grabbed by po­lice in cen­tral Moscow and hus­tled into a po­lice van, loudly de­mand­ing to know why she was be­ing held.

Demon­stra­tors were aim­ing to hold a march along the Boule­vard Ring, which skirts cen­tral Moscow and is a pop­u­lar lo­cale for peo­ple to walk around, de­spite re­peated warn­ings that po­lice would take ac­tive mea­sures against a protest.

The In­te­rior Min­istry said the total num­ber of pro­test­ers was about 1,500, al­though the po­lice are widely be­lieved to un­der­state crowd es­ti­mates for op­po­si­tion events.

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