Once a local, low-key affair, the September vote for Moscow’s city council has shaken up Russia’s political scene as the Kremlin struggles with how to deal with strongly opposing views in its sprawling capital of 12.6 million.
Russian police cracked down fiercely Saturday on demonstrators in central Moscow, beating some people and arresting more than 1,000 who were protesting the exclusion of opposition candidates from the ballot for Moscow city council. Police also stormed into a TV station broadcasting the protest.
Police wrestled with protesters around the mayor’s office, sometimes charging into the crowd with their batons raised. State news agencies Tass and RIA-Novosti cited police as saying 1,074 were arrested over the course of the protests, which lasted more than seven hours.
Along with the arrests of the mostly young demonstrators, several opposition activists who wanted to run for the council were arrested throughout the city before the protest. Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition figure was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail for calling an unauthorized protest.