Dozens of protesters took to the streets of Moscow for unauthorized rallies in support of disqualified city council election candidates on Saturday.

The city council had authorized a separate rally at Akademika Sakharova Avenue, organized by the Communist Party. The Interior Ministry says 4,000 people took part in that demonstration.

However, part of protesters answered the call by opposition leaders and refused to join the sanctioned demonstration. They staged pickets at several spots along the city’s Boulevard Ring demanding a fair vote. One person was reportedly detained.

Unauthorized pickets for fair elections also took place in Saint-Petersburg. Footage shows some of the activists being detained.

Protests have been taking place in the capital over the past three weekends with police detaining nearly 1,500 people in total. The demonstrations were triggered by the Russian Central Election Commission’s decision to turn down 57 candidates, claiming irregularities in their applications.

Opposition politicians Ilya Yashin, Lyubov Sobol, Dmitry Gudkov and Ivan Zhdanov were among the rejected candidates who claimed the decision was political.

The Moscow City Duma elections are scheduled to take place on September 8.

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Xinhua 17 Sep 2019 12:43 CEST

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