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Over a thousand peaceful demonstrators, including prominent opposition figures and journalists, have been detained in Moscow today. They were calling for free and democratic elections in Moscow in September 2019.
These detentions, and the disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters, follow the worrying series of arrests and police raids against opposition politicians carried out in recent days, and once again seriously undermine the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly. These fundamental rights are enshrined in the Russian constitution and we expect them to be protected.
For the upcoming local elections in September 2019 to represent a genuinely democratic process, it is essential to create the conditions for a level playing field and an inclusive political environment.
We expect the authorities of the Russian Federation to respect Russia’s OSCE commitments and other international obligations when conducting the upcoming local elections.