MOSCOW, September 9. (Itar-Tass) – UPDATED AT 10PM. Rally in support of Moscow mayoral candidate Alexey Navalny on Bolotnaya Square downtown scheduled for 7pm began 40 minutes later that it was supposed to. Leonid Volkov, head of Navalny’s campaign office, kicked off the event, reported Itar-Tass correspondent. Several thousand people have gathered in front of the state, many hold signs with the candidate’s name written on them.
Alexey Navalny qualified his mayoral campaign as a victory. Addressing the crowd at the "victory rally" on Bolotnaya Square, he thanked participants for their support and apologized for not believing in this victory to the end.
He also claimed that the "ultimatum for mayoral vote recount was adopted, but it's possible that the authorities can lie about it."
Primary demand of the rally was holding run-off election with Alexey Navalny as a candidate, who was the runner-up of the first round.
Opposition leader have not announced further plans in his struggle against Moscow Election Commission.
"We're not calling for disorders. We have a constructive proposal, a solution to this situation," said Leonid Volkov, head of Navalny's campaign office. He added that it included vote recount on ballot stations with controversial results.
Nine walk-through metal detectors were unable to successfully deal with participant throughput, so police officers had to partially remove them and screen rally-goers for dangerous items manually.
Organizers coordinated the event with the authorities with a 2,500 cap on participants with an end time of 10pm. The area is reinforced with interior troops. An Interior Ministry helicopter is monitoring the situation nearby, with its camera feed going directly to Moscow police headquarters.
Previously, Alexey Navalny was issued a warning from Moscow’s Prosecutor’s Office regarding impermissibility of infractions during the event. The agency elaborated that it noticed ‘calls for violence and civil disobedience’ being posted online.
Event spokespeople announced plans to make run-off election happen. The crowd at times chanted "Second tour!". No public disturbances were recorded as the crowd started dispersing.
A little over an hour into the event, the number of participants has reportedly reached 9,000. Deputy head of Navalny’s campaign office Roman Rubanov tweeted: “I’m being fined for exceeding participant capacity of the rally. 9,000 people.” Press service of Moscow police confirmed participation estimates to Itar-Tass.
Earlier on Monday, Alexey Navalny demanded annulling ballots which were signed not on polling stations, followed by holding runoff election.
Public Observer’s Staff has conducted 35 investigations in 118 incidents reported at the Moscow mayoral election, said staff member Oleg Bocharov.
He said that there were suspicions that on two accounts ballot boxes had extra ballots stuffed into them after the polling stations were closed. It was later determined that these sheets were ballots produced by the optical scan voting system and everything was accounted and confirmed by observers. The Public Staff has recorded 22 infractions during vote count through webcam footage.
Later, appearing before journalists, Navalny himself called on Moscow authorities to discuss recounting at “abnormal ballot stations” and invited residents to attend an authorized rally later on Monday.
Official data from the Moscow city election commission shows acting mayor Sergei Sobyanin won 51.37% of the vote. Navalny, who ran for mayor with the RPR-PARNAS party, won 27.24%. Voter turnout was 32.07%.