Locals proclaim that for “years and years” there had been no protests as big as the ones that took place in Moscow ahead of the municipal elections. Anna Nemtsova, a Moscow correspondent to the Daily Beast, reports from the scene.
After officials banned opposition candidates from running in the municipal elections, Alexey Navalny, activist and Kremlin critic, called for a peaceful protest in front of the Moscow City Hall. He was arrested, but the protests went on.
“We felt like Moscow was some part of North Korea,” Nemtsova says, referring to the crazy scene on Moscow streets.
Detentions of protest leaders began the night before the protests were to happen. Homes were searched and computers seized leaving protesters without official guidance. Nonetheless, chanting “Putin is a thief,” thousands gathered throughout Moscow.
The majority conglomerated around the city hall and down Tverskaya street, one of the most elite streets in Moscow. By evening, the police had made a total of 1,373 arrests, according to political monitoring group OVD- Info.
“Quite genuine” is how Nemtsova describes the sentiment of protesters. On the scene people commented that they “wanted a chance to vote in a fair election” and were “tired of corruption.”
The galère of anti-corruption gatherers consisted mainly of young Moscovites but authorities say that people came from all over and at least 600 were not from Moscow. From the scene, Nemtsova noted that it seemed to be a “generational protest.”
With fines to pay, legal cases opened and leaders behind bars, Nemtsova is not convinced that further protests are on the horizon.
“Today is a day that, a city that was a big mess yesterday, is recovering,” recounts Nemtsova.