Russian police arrested almost 1,400 people as they gathered in Moscow at the weekend to demand open elections, a monitor said, the biggest crackdown on a rally in the country in years. Some 3,500 people took part in the unauthorised protest on Saturday, according to official figures, after authorities blocked prominent opposition candidates from taking part in city elections.
The meeting came a week after 22,000 took to the streets calling on authorities to reverse their decision ahead of the vote. Police used batons on protesters as they tried to gather outside city hall on Saturday, and AFP reporters at the scene saw demonstrators with injuries.
The EU in a statement denounced the “disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters,” which it said undermined “the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly”. Amnesty International also condemned what it said was the use of excessive force by the police.—AFP