Russian police have cracked down on demonstrators in Moscow, arresting more than 1,000 people who were protesting against the exclusion of some opposition candidates from an upcoming election to the city council.
Over the course of the protests, which lasted more than seven hours, 1,074 were arrested according to state news agencies Tass and RIA-Novosti.
The dispute comes as the Kremlin is struggling with how to deal with strongly opposing views in its own sprawling capital of 12.6 million people.
Police confronted protesters around the mayor’s office, sometimes charging into the crowd with their batons raised.
The protesters, who police said numbered about 3,500, shouted slogans including “Russia will be free” and “Who are you beating?”
Demonstrators took to Moscow on Saturday according to city police.
One young woman was seen bleeding heavily after being struck on the head.
Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, called for the protest and was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 days in jail for doing so.
Several opposition members were detained throughout Moscow on Saturday, including Ilya Yashin, Dmitry Gudkov and top Navalny associate Ivan Zhdanov.
There was a heavy police presence at the mayor’s office on Tverskaya Street, with police trucks and buses parked in the building’s courtyard and other buses positioned nearby to take detainees away.
Once a local, low-key affair, the September vote for Moscow’s city council has shaken up Russia’s political scene as the Kremlin struggles with how to deal with strongly opposing views in its sprawling capital of 12.6 million.
The decision by electoral authorities to bar some opposition candidates for allegedly insufficient signatures on nominating petitions has already sparked several days of demonstrations this month.
Moscow city council, which has 45 seats, is responsible for a very large municipal budget and is now controlled by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party.
All of its seats, which have a five-year-term, are up for election on September 8.