Hundreds detained at Moscow Oppn protest

Moscow, August 3 

The police detained hundreds of protesters at an unauthorised opposition gathering in Moscow on Saturday, as authorities upped the pressure on top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny by launching a criminal probe into his anti-graft group.

Crowds of people marched in the capital’s central boulevards for a protest “stroll” over the refusal by officials to let a number of opposition candidates run in September polls for city parliament seats.

Most of those candidates and Opposition leaders, including Navalny, are being held by police following a protest rally last weekend, in which 1,400 demonstrators were detained-one of the biggest crackdowns in years.

At least 300 persons were detained by police about two hours into the rally, according to OVD-Info, a non-governmental organisation that operates a hotline for detainees.

AFP correspondents also observed dozens of arrests along the route of the protest, as lines of police attempted to break up the flow of the crowd by blocking it with a human chain and grabbing people indiscriminately.

Lyubov Sobol, currently three weeks into a hunger strike after being barred from taking part in the local polls and an ally of key opposition leader Navalny, was dragged from a taxi and detained on Saturday as she set off for the rally. People in the crowd said they just want the opposition to have a chance to run. — AFP