This is the bizarre moment Russian cops drag a sofa – on which a blonde woman who is a leading opposition campaigner is staging a sit-down protest – out of an election office.
An eyewitness with a smartphone captured the incident which happened during a protest by Lyubov Sobol, 31, at the the headquarters of the Moscow Election Commission.
Cops were seen carrying the settee – with a surprised-looking Ms Sobol still sitting on it and filming them with her own smartphone – down a flight of stairs.
Video Credit: CEN/@mborzunova
They then reportedly carried her out into the street where she was formally arrested and taken to a nearby police station where she was charged with obstruction.
Ms Sobol, a veteran campaigner against President Vladimir Putin’s leadership of the country, was protesting at being barred from standing in upcoming local elections.
She went on hunger strike nearly two weeks ago over the election authorities’ refusal to allow her and other candidates on the ballot for the elections on September 8th.
Ms Sobol stepped up her protest by staging a sit-in at the election commission office where she was forcefully removed by cops.
She filmed the incident on her smartphone and commented: “I don’t know what to say. This is real and not a dream.”
Ms Sobol, a lawyer, is a longstanding aide to Alexei Navalny, the leader of the Progress Party, who is a figurehead in opposing President Putin and corruption.
Dmitry Reut, a spokesman for the Moscow election commission office, denied the treatment of Ms Sobol was heavy handed.
He said: “It wasn’t Sobol that our security guards took out, but the couch, so as to shake out parasites, bedbugs and so on.
“They didn’t lay a finger on her. She was just sitting on the couch while the couch was carried out.”
Election officials have barred opposition candidates from running for the Moscow city legislature in September on the grounds they failed to gather enough signatures of support from voters.
Opposition activists dispute this and plan to stage an unauthorised rally in Moscow despite a raft of detentions of activists, including the jailing of Mr Navalny for 30 days.
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