- Title: Navalny calls for release of political prisoners as thousands rally in Moscow
- Date: 29th September 2019
- Summary: VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS
- Embargoed: 13th October 2019 14:19
- Keywords: Russian protests political prisoners Russian opposition Moscow protests protests agains police violence rally in Moscow
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA002AYPN7T3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: At least 24,000 Russians rallied in Moscow on Sunday (September 29) to demand the release of protesters jailed in what Kremlin opponents say is a campaign to stifle dissent.
The protesters have been arrested since July at several demonstrations against the exclusion of many opposition candidates from a local election.
Allegations of police brutality and what many Muscovites saw as harsh jail sentences for the protesters have sparked an unusual public outcry.
Several people were sentenced to up to four years, and others are being prosecuted, for crimes such as violence against police officers.
In a rare step following the outcry, courts freed one person on bail and dropped charges against another. But President Vladimir Putin's opponents say the moves may be a tactic to avoid wider concessions and want to step up pressure for others to be freed.
Russian opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny joined the protest on Sunday, saying he hoped more people would be released because of this rally.
Protesters filed through metal detectors under light rain, waving flags from an array of opposition groupings of starkly different political stripes.
The rally has been authorised by the Moscow mayor's office, meaning mass detentions by police are less likely to happen.
(Production: Shamil Zhumatov / Mikhail Antonov / Maria Vasilyeva)
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