Russian opposition began to gather in Moscow on Saturday (August 31st) to protest "political repression". This is the latest action of an important protest movement that shakes the capital, a week before controversial local elections. The march is being held at the call of the main opponent of the Kremlin, Alexei Navalny, recently released from prison. The authorities called on the participants to abandon the rally on pain of "taking responsibility" .
Protests have been held almost every weekend in Moscow since mid-July to protest against the ouster of opposition candidates from the Moscow Parliament election scheduled for 8 September. This protest movement is the most important since the return of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin in 2012.Read also Mobilization for "free elections" expands in Moscow
2,700 arrests and several trials
Unauthorized, most of the actions were severely repressed by the police, giving rise to nearly 2,700 arrests and the opening of several trials for "mass disorder" and "violence against the police " . Most opposition leaders have chained short prison sentences for their calls to protest, such as Ilia Iachine, imprisoned for the fifth time in a row on Wednesday. Another opposition voice, young lawyer Lioubov Sobol, was sprayed with mud on Thursday near her home. Alexei Navalny's organization, the Anti-Corruption Fund, is targeted by a "money laundering" investigation.
The protest movement began after the rejection, officially for formal flaws, of the registration of about 60 independent candidates for election to the Moscow Parliament. In charge of validating the huge budget of the capital, this body is currently composed of loyal pro-Kremlin mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
This election and the other regional and local elections that will be held in parallel are going to be difficult for the candidates of power, against a backdrop of social protest and economic stagnation.