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Kremlin defends police crackdown on opposition protests

MOSCOW — The Kremlin is defending the police response to recent protests in Moscow and downplays the huge demonstrations.

“We believe the firm action of law enforcement to curb public unrest was absolutely justified,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says today. “We do not agree with those who call what is happening a political crisis.”

Since mid-July tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Moscow demanding free elections after the exclusion of several opposition figures from local polls next month.

Russian national guardsmen detain a man following a rally calling for fair elections in Moscow on August 10, 2019. (Vasily Maximov/AFP)

Police detained hundreds after a huge rally on Saturday and nearly 1,400 at a protest late last month. Some protesters were injured in the crackdown.

“Law enforcement agencies are fulfilling their duties and do everything necessary to ensure security during sanctioned rallies,” Peskov says.

The protests are among the largest since a wave of demonstrations in 2011 and 2012 when Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency after serving a term as prime minister.

Putin has not commented on the Moscow protests.

Peskov says Putin has “paid attention to what is happening” but has not commented because “every day in Russia a huge number events take place.”

— AFP

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