Politics Regional

Mass protests in Russia: the voice of democracy demands release of political prisoners

Many Russians have decided to take to the streets in Moscow to demand the release of Kremlin political prisoners jailed before the country’s local elections.

It is said about 25,200 people marched in the Russian capital chanting “let them go” and “freedom for political prisoners”.

This protest has been approved by the city’s mayoral office. It may seem a change from those of previous months which revealed distressing fact: some 2,000 people were detained in one of the largest crackdowns against opposition supporters in the country’s recent history.

Activists assembled to express their ‘no’ to the detention of those arrested at rallies took place across the city in July because of opposition politicians were barred from taking part in the local government poll.

Since then some protesters have received prison sentences meanwhile others are being prosecuted for ‘committed’ crimes including violence against police officers.

The arrests, along with allegations of police brutality has prompted unusual public outcry and grumble in the country. “No one can get a fair hearing in Russian courts” opposition politician Lyubov Sobol told the crowd, “injustice and lawlessness can happen to anyone now”. Many experts say this march is unlikely to pose a threat to current Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

This public ‘revolt’ coincides with a falling in the Russian president’s ratings that was caused by falls in real incomes and a push to raise the retirement age approved by Mr Putin in October last year.

Activists hope the scale of their protest may push authorities to release arrested protestors, especially taking into account the release of one person on bail and the dropping of charges against another in the run up to the event.

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