Dramatic Footage Captures Brutal Crackdown On Protesters In Moscow
More than 1,000 people were arrested in Moscow on Saturday as protesters took to the streets to demand that opposition candidates be allowed to run for city council.
Demonstrators were dragged from city hall by police, who used batons to subdue the shouting crowd of 3,500 that took to the streets.
The protesters were rallying against the exclusion of opposition candidates from local polls, some of whom say they were barred from the September 8 election for political reasons.
The Moscow city council has 45 seats and is currently controlled by the pro-Kremlin United Russia Party. All of the seats, which hold a five-year term, are up for election.
Alexei Navalny, Russia's most prominent opposition figure, had encouraged the staging of the protests and was sentenced to jail on Wednesday for 30 days for doing so.
Lines of helmeted riot police pushed back against the crowd, some of whom struggled against them, while other demonstrators shouted slogans such as "Russia will be free!"
Multiple photos and videos surfacing on social media show injuries sustained by protesters in the scuffle.
Pussy Riot posted a photograph to Twitter with the message "Defending our election rights".
Moscow's Mayor, Sergei Sobyanin has asserted the demonstrations were a "security threat" and 1,074 arrests have been declared by official numbers -- although monitor groups report that there have been 1,127 detentions.
Anger has been mounting among opposition supporters who resent the dominant United Russia party -- last Saturday more than 20,000 Russians took to the streets demanding fair elections and dozens of arrests were made.