mo4ch:>Moscow braces for new thousands-strong protests over city council election | Mo4ch News - Mo4ch News


Saturday, August 10, 2019

mo4ch:>Moscow braces for new thousands-strong protests over city council election | Mo4ch News

The Russian opposition has received a permit for a rally in Moscow that may attract thousands of people. Fueled by celebrity support, the protest follows two unsanctioned gatherings that resulted in over 2,300 arrests.

Activists applied for and were granted a permit for the rally on August 10, which will take place on Sakharov Avenue, just northwest of the city center. They are protesting on behalf of some 50 disqualified independent candidates who have been precluded from standing in city council elections. Although a cold and rainy morning is forecast, the clouds should clear up by 2pm when the rally is supposed to start.

The opposition already arranged a sanctioned protest back on July 20, but then decided not to wait for the authorities to grant another authorization. They staged two unsanctioned demonstrations on July 27 and August 3, but those rallies became disorderly when protesters tried to block the streets of downtown Moscow.

Consequently, over 2,300 were detained by police during both events for disturbing the peace. Most of these have since been released.

Also on Protesters rally in Moscow over barring of opposition candidates from city council election

What's it all about?

The protests began over the registration of candidates for the 45 seats on the city council, with the election scheduled for September. The Electoral Commission disqualified 57 independent candidates, citing irregularities such as fraudulent signatures, whereas it accepted 233 others. Some of those rejected claimed that this was an attempt by the government to repress a pro-democracy movement, and urged demonstrators to "storm the city council" and "seize the streets."

One of the organizers, Lyubov Sobol, is a high-ranking official of the party led by Alexey Navalny, an anti-corruption activist often identified as the "leader of the opposition" by Western media, though his popular support is in single digits.

He was arrested on July 24 and sentenced to 30 days in jail for organizing one of the unauthorized rallies. While in custody, he allegedly suffered an 'allergic reaction,' which his supporters said was the result of a foul play. However, a thorough medical check found no trace of poisonous substances.

Sobol, who was detained during the August 3 demonstrations but promptly released with a fine, is also expected to attend the rally on Saturday, though she has reportedly called for more unauthorized protests in the city center instead.

Under Russian laws, organizers of mass gatherings have to negotiate its venue and maximum turnout with the authorities. Demonstrating outside of the agreed location is considered unlawful.

Star power

The turnout may be boosted by celebrity support. YouTube blogging star Yury Dud has urged people to come to the protest. Several others – like NHL player Artemy Panarin and renowned rapper Oxxxymiron, an Oxford graduate – have also joined in.

Face, IC3PEAK, and Krovostok – rap musicians with celebrity status among Russian young people – are also expected to attend the rally, though there is some confusion as to whether they will perform during the event. While the organizers say there will be a performance, the authorities say the protest permit does not include a concert.

Police have warned against any unauthorized protests or "provocative actions" on Saturday, saying that these will be regarded as a threat to public order and stopped immediately.

Accusations of meddling

Russian authorities maintain that the opposition unrest has been fueled from the outside. Earlier this week, the Foreign Ministry accused the US Embassy of unacceptable meddling in the country's internal affairs by posting a chart that showed the routes and main sites for the rallies on August 3.

The map appeared on the diplomatic mission's website a day before the event, leading Moscow to believe that it tacitly encouraged Muscovites to take to the streets. Meanwhile, lawmakers are also contemplating measures to crack down on foreign-funded NGOs that have been associated with the protests.

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Source : RT - Daily news

Moscow braces for new thousands-strong protests over city council election

Moscow braces for new thousands-strong protests over city council election