Tens of thousands participated in an authorized election-related protest in Moscow amid a heightened security presence on Saturday, August 10, demanding that authorities allow opposition-aligned candidates to run in the September 8 Moscow council elections. Significantly, protesters also demanded that individuals arrested in previous weeks' demonstrations be released. Shortly before the demonstration, police reportedly raided the office of opposition activist Lyubov Sokol, arresting her and claiming that she had been involved in planning a "provocation" at Saturday's rally. More than 70 people were arrested in Moscow, as well as around 80 in related demonstrations in St. Petersburg and ten others in Rostov-on-Don. A heightened security presence and lingering protest activity are to be expected in the affected cities over the coming hours.
Police have authorized protest activity in Moscow between 14:00 (local time) and 16:30 on Akademika Sakharova Avenue - a location outside the capital's city center - on Sunday, August 11. However, it is unclear if protesters will rally in the designated area. Similar demonstrations are to be anticipated in Moscow over the coming days and weeks amid a heavy police presence. Transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
Political tensions have increased after opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested on July 24 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Approximately 600 protesters were arrested in Moscow on August 3, and another 1400 protesters were arrested in the capital on July 27, amid gatherings to denounce a decision by the Moscow City Election Committee to exclude opposition candidates from the September 8 city council elections.
Individuals in Moscow and other Russian cities affected by election-related demonstrations are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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