Moscow votes in protest-shadowed election - GulfToday

Moscow votes in protest-shadowed election


Supporters wave red flags during a protest in Moscow. File photo/AP

Residents of Russia's capital are voting in a city council election that is shadowed by a wave of protests that saw the biggest demonstrator turnout in seven years and a notably violent police response.

City council elections are normally low-profile, but Sunday's vote grabbed wide attention after several opposition and independent candidates were denied places on the ballot.

The elections commission said there were signature irregularities in the candidates' nominating petitions. But the candidates and their supporters rejected that claim.

The ensuing protests tapped widespread dissatisfaction with Russia's tightly controlled political process, in which opposition figures are marginalized or ignored.

Two unsanctioned protest rallies were harshly dispersed by police, who beat some demonstrators and detained more than 2,400 people in all.

A later sanctioned protest attracted some 60,000 people.

Associated Press

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