July 29, 2019 / 9:28 PM / 4 months ago

Canada gravely concerned about protester detentions in Russia: statement

FILE PHOTO: Law enforcement officers detain a participant of a rally calling for opposition candidates to be registered for elections to Moscow City Duma, the capital's regional parliament, in Moscow, Russia July 27, 2019. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s government said on Monday it is worried that the Russian police detained more than 1,000 people in Moscow over the weekend around a protest to demand opposition members be allowed to run in a local election.

“Canada is gravely concerned 1000+ peaceful protesters were detained in advance of upcoming #Moscow elections,” Canada’s foreign ministry said on Twitter. “Freedom of assembly and expression are fundamental rights & enshrined in (the Russian) constitution. We call on #Russian authorities to respect these rights & refrain from violence.”

The Saturday crackdown was one of the biggest in recent years against an increasingly defiant opposition decrying President Vladimir Putin’s tight grip on power.

Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Chris Reese

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