MOSCOW — Russian police in riot gear detained hundreds of protesters Saturday at a demonstration opposing the exclusion of opposition politicians from the ballot for an upcoming city council election, marking another flare of anti-government defiance a week after Moscow’s largest opposition rally in years.
Police said around 3,500 people gathered near City Hall for the unauthorized protest organized by prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Earlier this week, a Russian court sentenced Navalny to 30 days in jail for calling for the demonstration. A handful of other prominent opposition politicians also were arrested before the rally took place.
A monitoring group that tracks political arrests in Russia, OVD-Info, said more than 750 people were detained during the police sweeps Saturday, the Associated Press reported. In previous mass detentions, many people were released after being held for several hours. The Moscow police had earlier said they had made 295 arrests, the Associated Press reported, but did not offer a final number.