- Title: Flowers, not arrests: thousands march peacefully in Moscow
- Date: 31st August 2019
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (AUGUST 31, 2019) (REUTERS) MAN GIVING FLOWERS TO OPPOSITION POLITICIAN LYUBOV SOBOL AS SHE MARCHES TOGETHER WITH PROTESTERS PROTESTERS MARCHING DOWN STREET CHANTING (Russian) 'FREEDOM TO POLITICAL PRISONERS' SOBOL WALKING VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS MARCHING, CHANTING RIOT POLICE LINE NATIONAL GUARD WALKING AT SQUARE PROTESTERS AT SQUARE SOBOL AT SQUARE SURROUNDED BY PROTESTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) OPPOSITION POLITICIAN LYUBOV SOBOL, SAYING: "There was no civil unrest on July 27, it is obvious that these folks, the students, should not be convicted under the article which stipulates up to eight years of imprisonment. I will never agree to this mayhem, I will fight for their rights, for my rights, for the rights of my family, for the rights of muscovites, who want to live in a city where people don't steal, they want to live in a city where election exists, where independent and professional courts work, Freedom to political prisoners!" CROWD CHANTING 'FREEDOM TO POLITICAL PRISONERS!' (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) OPPOSITION POLITICIAN LYUBOV SOBOL, SAYING: "We are now speaking on behalf of people who want justice, who want to be represented in the election, so that people who win this election would protect their interests." PEOPLE HOLDING BANNER READING (Russian) 'Article 31 of the Constitution of Russian Federation: Citizens of Russian Federation have the right to gather peacefully, without arms, to conduct meetings, rallies and demonstrations, marches and pickets." CHANTING (Russian) 'WE NEED OTHER RUSSIA' PROTESTER CHANTING 'FREEDOM TO POLITICAL PRISONERS' PROTESTER HOLDING BANNER AT RALLY (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HEAD OF OPPOSITION CANDIDATE FOR MOSCOW PARLIAMENT DMITRY GUDKOV'S HEADQUARTERS, VITALY VENEDIKTOV, SAYING: "Our candidates, like Dmitry Gudkov, are in detention. Our former main candidate, who was not registered, Yegor Zhukov, is in prison facing up to eight years of imprisonment. Dozens of people are under criminal investigation, the political prisoners are in jail for organizing civil unrest which has never happened. We just came here first of all to show that we are many, and secondly to show that we are against repression, against violent suppression of the protests, and that we have a right to gather peacefully." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AT SQUARE WOMAN IN T-SHIRT READING 'WE ARE IVAN GOLUNOV' PROTESTERS AT SQUARE
- Embargoed: 14th September 2019 17:04
- Keywords: Russia protest elections Lyubov Sobol Russian protests opposition protests voxpops protesters
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001AUJT8P3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:A few thousand Russians took to the streets of central Moscow on Saturday (August 31) to demand free election to the capital's city legislature on Sept. 8, defying a ban which has been enforced with violent detentions during previous protests.
Weeks of demonstrations over elections for the city legislature have turned into the biggest sustained protest movement in Russia since 2011-2013, when protesters took to the streets against perceived electoral fraud.
Chanting "Russia will be free!" and "This is our city!," protesters marched through one of Moscow's thoroughfares. Reuters witnesses estimated their number at a few thousand, while Moscow police said only 750 attended the event, which has not been sanctioned by the government, making it illegal.
The demonstrators have been demanding that opposition candidates be allowed to stand in the election. Around 30 of them - mostly running as independents - have been dropped from the race by the election commission which said they had too many fake voter signatures.
The city council is dominated by President Vladimir Putin's allies.
Protesters are now also calling for the release of activists detained over earlier rallies, and opposition activist Lyubov Sobol on Saturday described the arrests as "mayhem" blaming it on the city government and Putin's office.
(Production: Lev Sergeyev, Mikhail Antonov, Alexei Novik, Dmitry Turlyun)
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