Russia opposition to rally against 'fraudsters' ahead of locals polls

22 Juillet, 2019, 20:49 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Artemi Panarin

Speaking at the tournament Mr Navalny urged protesters: "We can stamp them that is a unhealthy sport".

The refusal to register the opposition sparked fury among the independent candidates and many liberal Russians, with Sobol, a 31-year-old lawyer and Navalny ally, launching a hunger strike last week.

Organisers acknowledged on Fb that they were protesting for a Russian Federation "without bandits, fraudsters, swindlers and thieves".

Police, which downplay turnout at opposition rallies, said 12,000 turned up.

Moscow police said the protest was sanctioned and no arrests were reported.

The July 20 protest is the latest sign that Russian citizens are willing to take to the streets to express their discontent over a host of issues, ranging from elections to low living standards and local problems like garbage.

Alexi Navalny, Russia's most prominent opposition figure, told the crowd that if the barred candidates were not allowed to register by next Saturday, he would call for protests at the office of Moscow's mayor and "we won't leave".

White Counter, an NGO that tracks participation in protest rallies, said about 21,500 people took part in Saturday's rally.

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The protests attain amid a tumble in approval rankings for Mr Putin and enrage over declining living requirements and in model corruption.

They were made to jump through countless hoops, with each having to collect 5,000 signatures from supporters to be eligible.

At Saturday's rally, some protesters waved their passports in the air, chanting "We have come!"

Greg Yudin, a lecturer at the Higher School of Economics, said he and many other Muscovites discovered that their signatures were declared fake.

"But we had sympathized with him (Trump), because he said that he wanted to restore normal relations with Russian Federation".

Political observer Kirill Rogov said the independent candidates' exclusion was "one of the largest frauds in Russia's electoral history".

Some 7.2 million Muscovites are eligible to elect 45 lawmakers to the local parliament, now dominated by the United Russia ruling party.

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