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Moscow Protest Leaders Sued for $190K Over Blocked Traffic Claims

Violetta Nadbitova / MT

Two of Moscow’s transportation authorities and a restaurant owner are seeking nearly $200,000 in damages from opposition figures over alleged traffic disruptions and lost revenue during protests they organized last month, Moscow City Court said Friday.

Thousands took to the streets and hundreds were detained on July 27 during unauthorized demonstrations in support of candidates barred from running in Moscow’s upcoming legislative elections. Several participants have been accused of blocking traffic in central Moscow that day. 

Moscow’s Koptevsky District Court has agreed to hear the two transport cases against nine of the rejected opposition candidates for damages totaling over 12.5 million rubles ($190,000).

A third plaintiff — reported to be the owner of an Armenian restaurant — alleged that the business had lost more than half a million rubles ($8,200) in revenue during the July 27 protests. The plaintiff's case will be heard in the Tushinsky District Court.

Preliminary hearings for the two transport cases have been scheduled for Aug. 22, according to Russia’s Rapsi legal news website.

Mosgortrans, the city’s main transportation authority, drew online criticism late on Friday for a Twitter thread explaining why it sued the protest organizers for 1.2 million rubles in damages. 

Several of the candidates, as well as prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, are currently serving jail terms on protest-related charges. 

The authorities say the candidates were barred from running because they had failed to collect enough genuine signatures of support, an allegation the opposition rejects as false.

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