Police break up Moscow rally
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.