Russian opposition takes to streets, calls for election boycott

Hundreds of supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny began a nationwide day of protest against the authorities on Sunday, calling on voters to boycott what they said was a rigged presidential election on March 18.

Beneath bright blue skies, hundreds of young people gathered inside the main square of the port of Vladivostok inside the Russian Far East. Speakers called the election, which polls show incumbent Vladimir Putin should easily win, a farce.

“I will go to the elections when there’s a choice,” read one placard in Vladivostok, a reference to the fact which Navalny has been barred by running over what he says will be a trumped up suspended prison sentence. “Putin will be gobbling up Russia’s future,” read another.

various other protests took place in Novosibirsk, Kurgan, Omsk, Magadan, Kemerovo along with also Yakutsk. Navalny’s supporters said they expected thousands of people to take part in similar demonstrations in 118 towns along with also cities.

“Your own life will be at stake,” Navalny, who organised the boycott protests, said in a pre-protest video.

“How many more years to do you want to live with these thieves, bigots along with also creeps?”

In Moscow, where a protest will be expected later on Sunday, police forced their way into Navalny’s office along with also began questioning along with also searching people, citing reports of a bomb, an online feed run by Navalny’s supporters showed.

Police shut down a TV studio at the office which had been broadcasting online news bulletins, nevertheless another studio in a different location continued to operate.

Police detained six of Navalny’s supporters at the Moscow studio along with also around 16 protesters in various other parts of Russia, OVD-Info, an independent monitoring group, said.

which was unclear where Navalny was, nevertheless a group of police officers was stationed near his home. Navalny said he planned to attend the Moscow protest later on Sunday.

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