Hundreds of protesters were arrested in Moscow on Saturday, August 3, amid demonstrations calling for the inclusion opposition-aligned candidates in the September 8 elections to the Moscow City Duma. Rights groups claim some 600 people have been detained as of 17:00 (local time), including opposition politician Lyubov Sobol.
Protesters had attempted to stage a peaceful march along the Boulevard Ring from 14:00 but were blocked by riot police after the local government deemed the gathering illegal. Police reportedly diverted demonstrators to Pushkin Square, where scores were arrested.
Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are expected around the protest sites. Further clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
Political tensions have increased after opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested on July 24 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Some 1400 protesters were arrested in Moscow 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. Similar protests were held on July 14-15 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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