Opposition protest will be held in Moscow today, one week after 1,000 demonstrators were detained by authorities for causing mass unrest.
Almost 50,000 Russian opposition activists and their supporters have taken to Moscow's streets for a fifth consecutive weekend in spite of a government crackdown as support from citizens and celebrities grows across the county.
A group that monitors attendance of public meetings, Beliye Schetchik, said it counted about 40,000 people at the demonstration; a police estimate put the crowd at 20,000.
Chanting "dopuskai!" or "let them through", members of Russia's opposition called for independent candidates to be allowed to appear in Moscow's municipal elections.
Police in Moscow detained prominent opposition leader Lyubov Sobol on August 10 following a raid as she prepared to attend a sanctioned opposition rally.
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"Everyone has his own reason to be here", said Maria Ostozheva, 53, standing in a plastic poncho on a rainy, cold summer afternoon. "We need to engage the State Duma's security committee", Neverov added. Russian police have cracked down on the protesters more forcefully than usual, opening criminal cases, checking debt and military service records, and even initiating a process to take an infant son from her protesting parents.
"Moreover, I think it would be right and useful to exchange such information through respective services", Zakharova said, adding that she and her Chinese colleagues will discuss the issue soon.
Showing the movement's appeal to young Russians, one of the country's most famous rappers, Oxxxymiron, attended the rally and another popular rapper Face performed on stage. "I am asking to get my lawyer and will continue my political activities".
Most opposition candidates who have been banned from participating in the vote have been jailed for violating protest laws.