Over 1000 people were detained in a political protest in Moscow called by detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Saturday, July 27, with demonstrators demanding authorities allow opposition-aligned candidates to run in the September 8 elections to the Moscow City Duma. More than 3500 people were estimated to have attended the protest near the Moscow mayor's office, which proved to be one of the most emphatic anti-government demonstrations to be held in the capital in recent years, despite authorities earlier declaring it to be an illegal gathering. Security forces blocked several streets in the capital amid the protest activity and clashes between protesters and security forces were reported; at least two people were seriously wounded.
A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected in Moscow over the coming hours. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out. Additional political protests are possible in the capital and other urban centers across the country ahead of the September 8 elections.
Political tensions have increased after opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested on July 24 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. An estimated 20,000 people participated in a massive protest on July 20 in Moscow to denounce a decision by the Moscow City Election Committee to exclude opposition candidates from the September 8 city council elections. Similar protests were held on July 14 and July 15 in the capital, with police reportedly arresting some demonstrators.
Individuals in Moscow 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.
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