Russia: Sobyanin defends police response to unsanctioned rally, warns against new ‘provocation’

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Wednesday defended the police response to the July 27 unsanctioned demonstration in the Russian capital, blaming the organisers of the protest for the unrest. “These people had been carrying out unsanctioned rallies on the Trubnaya square several days in a row. And there was almost no reaction from the police. But those who led this rally were not satisfied with... Еще the scenario like this,” said Sobyanin. “They started actively trying to block roads, streets and attacking police officers. They forced the police to use force, and that was absolutely justifiable in this situation,” he added, thanking the Moscow law enforcement officers. Russia’s Interior Ministry said that 1,074 people were detained by police at Moscow’s Trubnaya Square on July 27, at an unauthorized demonstration against the disqualification of candidates for the upcoming city council election. Earlier, the Russian Central Election Commission turned down 57 candidates, claiming irregularities in their applications. Among the barred candidates were members of the opposition Ilya Yashin, Lyubov Sobol, Dmitry Gudkov and Ivan Zhdanov. The candidates’ signatures were considered invalid by the commission for “inconsistency of information in passport data, including addresses of residence, signatures of non-existent or even dead voters.”
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