People hold portraits with signs reading from left: "Freedom to Yevgeny Kovalenko" and "Freedom to Ivan Podkopaev" during a rally to support political prisoners in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Thousands rally in Moscow to demand protesters' release

September 29, 2019 - 8:55 am

MOSCOW (AP) — Thousands of people are rallying in Moscow to demand the release of those who were arrested during a wave of opposition demonstrations this summer.

Those at Sunday's rally, which was sanctioned by Russian authorities, chanted "Free them all!"

Protests erupted in Moscow in July after officials refused to allow a dozen independent and opposition candidates to run for the Moscow city legislature in the Sept. 8 vote. Rallies drew crowds of up to 60,000 at a time, the largest show of discontent in seven years.

Russian police violently dispersed some of the election protests that weren't sanctioned, detaining more than 2,400 people. Most were quickly released, but more than a dozen were accused of involvement in riots and some received prison terms of up to four years.

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