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About 20,000 rally in Moscow to demand protesters’ release

Russian opposition supporters attended a demonstration in Moscow on September 29, 2019.
Russian opposition supporters attended a demonstration in Moscow on September 29, 2019. AFP/Getty Images

MOSCOW — About 20,000 people rallied in Moscow on Sunday to demand the release of those who were arrested during a wave of opposition demonstrations this summer.

Protests erupted in Moscow in July after officials refused to allow a dozen independent and opposition candidates to run for the Moscow city legislature in the Sept. 8 vote. Rallies drew crowds of up to 60,000 at a time, the largest show of discontent against President Vladimir Putin’s rule in seven years.

Russian police violently dispersed some of the election protests that weren’t sanctioned, detaining a total of more than 2,400 people. Most were quickly released, but more than a dozen were put into custody on charges of involvement in riots.

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Amid the public outrage, the authorities dropped charges against some of the protesters, but several people have been sentenced to prison terms of up to four years and a few others are in still custody.

ASSOCIATED PRESS