Three members of the political opposition standing in the State Duma elections in September have been arrested alongside activists at a protest outside United Russia party's headquarters in Moscow, the Dozhd TV channel reported Friday.
The event was a protest in support of hunger-striking mothers who have not been provided with social housing.
Yulia Galamina, one of the arrested election candidates told the Interfax news agency that shortly after the meeting began “the police arrived, asking us for our documents, then began arresting protest participants without warning.”
Footage later appeared online showing police breaking up the protest and forcing activists onto a police bus.
Konstantin Yankauskas, an arrested candidate from the PARNAS party told the Dozhd TV channel that he was manhandled by police during his arrest.
“For several minutes they tried to push me onto the bus, they hit me in the arms and legs and I was beaten to the ground," he said.
“Eventually they carried me onto the bus and put me on the floor.”
Galamina claimed that nine people were arrested and were still detained.
“They’re not letting us write a statement on the police’s actions, which we believe fall foul of the statute on obstructing the electoral rights of citizens,” she said.
According to Galamina, none of the arrestees have been charged and they are currently waiting for their lawyers to arrive. They plan to prepare an official complaint to the Central Electoral Commission.
The police have yet to comment on the arrests.
On July 1 a hunger strike was declared by around 30 mothers financially struggling with either several children or with disabled children. The women are demanding that the Moscow government provide them with social housing or housing subsidies.