Demonstrations to demand free and fair elections are being planned in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the coming weeks. The Communist Party of the Russia Federation (KPRF) is organizing a rally in St. Petersburg on Thursday, August 15, starting at 19:00 (local time) in Lenin Square. KPRF leaders are also planning to hold a demonstration in Moscow on Saturday, August 17, on Sakharov Avenue. Independent politicians also applied for a permit to rally in Moscow on Saturday at Boulevard Ring but were denied by city officials. Open Russia and other opposition politicians have also applied for permission to hold a march and demonstration in Moscow on Saturday, August 24. The protest is initially scheduled to be held from 14:00 to 17:00 at Victory Square and along Sakharov Avenue. Organizers have said that up to 100,000 people may participate in the demonstration.
Similar demonstrations maybe held in Moscow and other major urban over the coming days and weeks amid a heavy police presence. Transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
Activists claim that around 50,000 people participated in a mass demonstration in Moscow on Saturday, August 10, 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 rallies were also held in other cities across the country, including St. Petersburg. Hundreds of people were detained by the police, including opposition activist Lyubov Sobol, who was arrested at her office before being released later in the day.
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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