Russian police have arrested about 200 people who attended a meeting organized by the opposition and impartial politicians in Moscow.
The detainees are accused of having links with “an undesirable organization.”
The forum, which was scheduled to run throughout the weekend, was attended by representatives of municipalities from all over Russia.
The meeting was organized by the “Open Russia” organization founded by the oligarchy and former Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who lives in exile in Britain today.
Police stormed during an ongoing meeting
Police stormed the building during the current meeting and arrested the delegates and took them to the waiting police cars.
The aim was to intimidate people and keep them out of politics, says one of the meeting organizers in a video tape filmed in a police car.
Russian authorities refer to the laws relating to “undesirable organizations” and “foreign agents”.
The laws, which have received widespread criticism, are used by the government to prevent groups from operating and stifling dissident activities.
This is denied by the Russian leadership, which claims that the laws are necessary to ensure security in the country and protect the country from foreign interference.
This kind of government crackdown on dissent has intensified recently – ahead of the elections scheduled for September.
Criticism of the Kremlin also increased after opposition politician Alexei Navalny was arrested and sentenced to prison.
Sources: Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse