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Moscow ‘fair election’ rally: LIVE updates

Moscow ‘fair election’ rally: LIVE updates

17:26 MSK: Organizers of the protest thank everyone for coming and end the gathering. Thousands of people start leaving the Akademika Sakharova Boulevard. 

17:23 MSK: Police on location say anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 people attended the rally.

17:19 MSK: Ryzhkov has read the rally's declarations. Among the crowds' demands are resignation of CEC head Churov, cancellation of fraudulent elections, registration of all opposition parties and a new ballot after that.

17:07 MSK: Police say the number of people at the rally quoted by organizers is "impossibly" high.

16:55 MSK: Rally organizers call for police to control the "hot-headed young men" by the stage.

16:00 MSK: Police report outflow of people from Sakharov Ave.

15:45 MSK: Navalny says “We are peaceful activists”, warns that if authorities ignore the protests, “we will take what is ours”. Next protest will draw a million, he assures.

15:37 MSK: Opposition split on how many people are at the rally. Navalny says 200,000; Ryzhkov says 120,000.

15:32 MSK: The number of demonstrators in Moscow rally stabilizes at 29,000 as people arrive at and leave the cordoned-off street, police report.

15:22 MSK: Sakharov rally beats Bolotnaya two weeks ago in head count, police confirm.

15:18 MSK: Mobile phone networks fail to cope with the large number of users at the rally.

15:08 MSK: Opposition rally causes traffic jams in Moscow. Nearby metro stations are overcrowded.

14:58 MSK: Access to the rally has resumed after a short break. The large number of people trying to pass through metal detectors caused a bottle-neck, according to media reports. Police say reports that access was suspended were false.

14:55 MSK: Police estimate the number of demonstrators at about 28,000.

14:54 MSK: Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov claims from the stage that 100,000 people have gathered at the rally. The crowds boo him as he continues his speech.

14:51 MSK: Kudrin calls for broader political reform than that suggested by Medvedev. He also calls for resignation of the head of the Central Election Commission Churov and early parliamentary elections a year from now.

14:45 MSK: Police have denied allegations from activists that arrests have been made.  They insist nobody has been detained during the opposition rally so far.

14:35 MSK: Police temporarily suspend access to Sakharov Avenue, says Interfax.

14:30 MSK: There are 21.5 thousand people at the rally in Moscow, according to police. Some 700 journalists are covering the event.

14:24 MSK: Police now estimating turnout at 14,000, 20 minutes after start of rally.

14:16 MSK: Police estimate the number of people at the rally at about 5,000 as of 2 pm. Other sources are quoting figures as high as 40,000.

14:10 MSK: An eco-activist claims a dozen anarchists were detained shortly before the rally started. This has not been confirmed by police.

14:05 MSK: A number of smaller-scale rallies are taking place in several other Russian cities. No serious incidents have so far been reported.

14:01 MSK: Among those will be prominent public figures like the billionaire presidential hopeful Mikhail Prokhorov and former finance minister Aleksey Kudrin.

14:00 MSK: It is 2 p.m. The rally is scheduled to start now and go on until 6 p.m. Some 30 speakers chosen through an online poll are to address the protesters.

13:56 MSK: This time the demo is taking place at Akademika Sakharova Avenue in Moscow. The authorities sanctioned the event with up to 50,000 people attending. Some forecasts based on numbers of social media subscribers indicate even more will turn out.

13:55 MSK: Hello. It’s Saturday, December 24. Two weeks after Russia’s biggest demonstration in two decades, opposition supporters are gathering for another rally to protest at what they say were blatant violations during December 4th parliamentary elections.