MOSCOW, September 8 (RIA Novosti) – Supporters of Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny have been authorized to hold a rally in downtown Moscow on Monday, a security official said.
The rally will he held on Bolotnaya Square one day after Moscow’s mayoral race where acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin faces off against Navalny, the city’s acting top security official Alexei Mayorov said. Attendance is capped at 2,500, he said.
Last May, an anti-government demonstration on Bolotnaya Square descended into violent skirmishes between police and protestors. Authorities have said that more than 400 protesters were detained after allegedly injuring dozens of police officers, and a probe was opened against nearly 30 people.
Navalny, who has based his opposition activism and election campaign for Moscow mayor on a vociferous anti-corruption platform, was convicted in July of embezzlement and sentenced to five years in a penal colony. But in a surprise move, prosecutors then filed a request for him to be released from custody pending appeal.
Navalny, a whistle-blowing blogger well-known for leading mass protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin, has denounced the charges against him as politically motivated.
Moscow’s City Hall has also sanctioned a rally in the Novopushkinsky Garden to be held by the Russian Communist Party, Mayorov said adding that up to 1,000 people will be allowed to attend the event.
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