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Rally, pickets call for fair Moscow elections

About 4,000 people have held a rally in Moscow to demand fairness in upcoming city council elections, and solo pickets protesting the exclusion of some opposition and independent candidates are taking place at prominent monuments.

The actions Saturday have been much smaller and less heated than recent weekend protests over the issue. Two unauthorized demonstrations were previously harshly broken up by police, with more than 2,000 people detained altogether; a sanctioned demonstration last week attracted as many as 60,000 people, the largest protest in several years.

The authorized rally on Saturday was organized by the Communist Party. The solo pickets are following a law that demonstrations by a single person do not require official permission.

A wheel-chair bound woman activist surrounded by journalists holds a poster reading "The Constitution breakers to be brought to justice!" as she talks to police officers during a protest in the center of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. People rallied Saturday against the exclusion of some city council candidates from Moscow's upcoming election. (AP PhotoAlexander Zemlianichenko)

No detentions have been reported.

Communist party supporters stand behind police bars during a protest in the center of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Writing on a poster in center reads: "Let's clean Russia from the United Russia (party)!" People rallied Saturday against the exclusion of some city council candidates from Moscow's upcoming election. (AP PhotoAlexander Zemlianichenko)

People dance as the communist party supporters wave red flags during a protest in the center of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. People rallied Saturday against the exclusion of some city council candidates from Moscow's upcoming election. (AP Photo)

Communist party supporters wave red flags during a protest in the center of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. People rallied Saturday against the exclusion of some city council candidates from Moscow's upcoming election. (AP PhotoAlexander Zemlianichenko)

Communist party supporters wave red flags during a protest in the center of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. People rallied Saturday against the exclusion of some city council candidates from Moscow's upcoming election. (AP PhotoAlexander Zemlianichenko)

Communist party supporters hold red flags and a banner reading "For fair and clean elections!" during a protest in the center of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. People rallied Saturday against the exclusion of some city council candidates from Moscow's upcoming election. (AP PhotoAlexander Zemlianichenko)