Hundreds of people have reportedly been detained across Russia following election-related protests on Saturday, August 10. According to independent political activists, at least 229 people were detained in Moscow, with another 81 in St. Petersburg and 13 in Rostov-on-Don. Opposition activist Lyubov Sobol, who was arrested at her office on Saturday afternoon (local time), was released later in the day. Activists claim that up to 60,000 people participated in the Moscow rally to demand authorities allow opposition-aligned candidates to run in the September 8 Moscow council elections, as well as the release of individuals arrested in previous weeks' demonstrations. Solidarity demonstrations were also reportedly held in other cities including Yekaterinburg, Vladivostok, and Krasnodar.
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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