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Some 3,500 Navalny Supporters Rally In Novosibirsk


Navalny, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is campaigning for the March 2018 presidential election, in which Putin is widely expected to seek and win a fourth term. (file photo)

Some 3,500 supporters attended a rally by Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny in Novosibirsk on September 22.

The city authorities sanctioned the rally that took place in the Siberian city's park on the bank of the Ob river.

Navalny, who talked at the rally about the need to have an independent judicial system, increased wages and educational expenses, later expressed his gratitude on his website to all who attended his gathering.

Dozens of Navalny campaign workers have been detained or questioned in Moscow and other Russian cities in recent months.

Navalny, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is campaigning for the March 2018 presidential election, in which Putin is widely expected to seek and win a fourth term.

In December, Navalny announced plans to run, and has since opened more than 60 campaign offices across Russia, holding several campaign rallies.

In June, however, the Central Election Commission said that Navalny was ineligible to run for public office because of a financial-crimes conviction that he says was politically motivated.

The Council of Europe's decision making body, the Committee of Ministers, urged Russian authorities to allow Navalny to "stand for election"for the Russian presidency.

The Committee of Ministers on September 21 said Navalny "continues to suffer the consequences of [his] arbitrary and unfair" conviction despite a February ruling by the European Court for Human Rights that deemed the case against Navalny and his co-defendant "unreasonable.”"

The Russian Ministry of Justice responded to the committee's statement by accusing the Council of Europe of "stepping beyond" its authority and trying to "exert political pressure" on Russian authorities ahead of campaigning for the presidential election.

The Committee of Ministers comprises the foreign ministers of all 47 Council of Europe member states or their permanent diplomatic representatives in Strasbourg.

With reporting by Interfax


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