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Protests in Moscow as opposition is excluded from elections

Russian opposition candidate Russian and activist Ilya Yashin, right, gestures while speaking to a crowd with a bas-relief of the Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, left, during a protest in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 14, 2019. Opposition candidates who run for seats in the city legislature in September's elections have complained that authorities try to bar them from the race by questioning the validity of signatures of city residents they must collect in order to qualify for the race. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

MOSCOW — Around 1,000 people have gathered in central Moscow to demand that opposition candidates be included on ballots for an upcoming city parliament election in September.

The rally was billed as a meeting between opposition leaders and their voters after signatures sponsoring several candidates were rejected by the Moscow election commission. Demonstrators on Sunday chanted “We are the authority here!” and “Putin is a thief.”

Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most famous opposition leader, has not yet arrived at the meeting, which has not been sanctioned by Russian authorities.

Ilya Yashin, one of the candidates who saw signatures invalidated, has called on demonstrators to march with him to the mayor’s office to state their election demands.

No arrests have been reported so far.

The Associated Press