Moscow opposition candidate detained at her office as thousands protest

Police broke into the office of an unregistered opposition candidate forthe Moscow city council elections on Saturday, as tens of thousands of activists gathered to speak protest the hampering of opposition candidates in the September vote.

Lyubov Sobol,the only prominent candidate who has not been arrested for participating in previous unsanctioned rallies, was detained while she was addressing her supporters on social media.

“Police arehere at our centre where we collect signatures. Police wantto stop me from going to rally, but I’m not afraid, I’m not going to give up,” Sobol said on Twitter.

“I will continue my political work. They are going to break the door,” she said as the sounds of knocking and yelling areheard in the background.

Protesters gathered in central Moscowto protest against the exclusion of opposition and independent candidates from the city council ballot, the third consecutive weekend of rallies staged over the issue.

The protest on Saturday appeared to have the largest turnout of the recent rallies over an issue tapping strong dissatisfaction with Russia’s tightly controlled politics with demonstrators demanding opposition candidates be allowed to run in the upcoming Moscow election. (Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

Organizers say they believe about 47,000 people were at the rally. Apolice estimate put the crowd at 20,000. Police have detained over 100 people in Moscow since the protest begain Saturday.

Watch: CBC’s Chris Brown is on the ground at Moscow protest

Demonstrators demand free city-wide elections in spite of a government crackdown, CBC’s Chris Brown reports. 1:52

Saturday’s demonstration wassanctioned by city authorities, unlike the two previous protests in which thousands of people were detained, sometimes violently.Some opposition figures called on supporters to take part in an unsanctioned stroll in Moscow later on Saturday.