Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Russia

Supporters Rally In Moscow In Support Of Opposition Election

Russian Opposition Activists Search For Leaders In An Online Polli
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October 20, 2012
Russian protesters call for the election of a "shadow parliament" to counter Russian President Vladimir Putin and revive the opposition movement. (Reuters video)

WATCH: Russian antigovernment activists hold an online election to select opposition representatives.

By RFE/RL
Hundreds of people have gathered in Moscow in support of elections for the Opposition Coordination Council.

Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov said that more than 1,000 people attended the rally in a park on Tsvetnoi Boulevard.

The rally comes as the opposition's online election of representatives to the 45-seat coordination council was temporarily suspended on October 20 as a result of hacker attacks.

More than 200 candidates fielded by Russia's splintered protest movement are vying for the seats on the coordinating committee. The voting is being held October 20 and October 21, both online and at polling stations across a handful of Russian regions.

In Moscow on October 20, nearly a dozen police vans surrounded the one site where supporters could cast their ballots by hand -- a security measure that anti-Putin forces described as a form of pressure.

A spate of denial of service attacks on the election website also disrupted online voting.

"The site is frozen; it works sometimes and then gets frozen again," said Moscow voting volunteer Mikhail Shulman. "It means that, across the country, many "hired fingers" are working hard now to prevent [the election website] from working. When I was walking here half an hour ago, there were more police than voters, a proportion of ten-to-one."

Udaltsov suggested that the vote was a "unique" action "in support of real democracy."

"For me, this event is precious," he said. "Because citizens without a state, without power, can organize a vote using modern technology."

Some of the participants in the Moscow rally on October 20 were carrying banners in support of opposition activists arrested over clashes between protesters and police during a May demonstration in Moscow and also for allegedly plotting to organize mass riots.

Udaltsov said signatures were being collected in support of those who had been detained.

Earlier this week, Konstantin Lebedev, an Udaltsov aide, was charged with plotting mass riots. Lebedev is being held in custody pending his trial and could be jailed for up to 10 years.

Udaltsov was also taken in for questioning over the allegations and was later released but ordered not to leave Moscow.

The Interfax news agency said Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich, recently freed from jail, appeared briefly at the rally.

Police said some 600 people took part in the demonstration which ended without incident.
 
With reporting by AFP, RIA Novosti, and Interfax

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