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Russia protests: Gorbachev calls for election re-run

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has said Sunday’s Russian parliamentary election was marred by fraud and has called for a re-run. “The country’s leaders must admit there were numerous falsifications and rigging and the results do not reflect the people’s will,” he said. Protesters have called for new rallies as arrests in Tuesday’s crackdown in Moscow and elsewhere reached 800.

Key figures in the protest movement are starting 15-day jail sentences. State TV channels have ignored the protests, giving coverage only to rallies in support of the government.

“Disregard for public opinion is discrediting the authorities and destabilising the situation” – Mikhail Gorbachev, Former Soviet leader

The centre of Moscow saw its biggest protest against the rule of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his allies in years on Monday, when several thousand people came out to condemn widely reported fraud at Sunday’s parliamentary elections. An attempt to hold a smaller rally on Tuesday was quickly broken up by riot police, while rival rallies by Putin supporters were allowed to proceed.

The big question now is whether the fledgling protest movement can maintain its momentum, the BBC’s Daniel Sandford reports from Moscow. While the movement began as a protest against the election results, most of the slogans have been against Mr Putin, our correspondent adds. The Russian prime minister, who formally registered on Wednesday to stand in the March presidential election, has played down losses by his party, United Russia, which saw its support drop sharply to just under 50% of the vote.

Read full story: BBC News

Category: World News |

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Last updated March 25, 2017 at 5:40 PM
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