There was solidarity on the streets of the Russian city of Astrakhan. As demonstrators took part in an unlicensed march scuffles with the police broke out as tension mounted.
The marchers were backing defeated mayoral candidate, Oleg Shein who alleges fraud in the poll in which he was defeated by a pro-Kremlin candidate.
Shein has entered the 25th day of a hunger strike and has been joined by others as his campaign gathers support. He has become the latest focus in the struggle between the Kremlin and opposition in the regions.
The electoral commission has admitted there were violations but minor ones.
“The violations that were registered did not affect the election rights of Oleg Shein and did not affect the election results,” said Oleg Dupak, Astrakhan prosecutor
Scuffles broke out between pro and anti-Kremlin groups outside the electoral commission offices, more evidence of the growing tension in the city on the Volga river delta.
Forty-year old Shein said on his blog, “our goal is honest elections that will put an end to the mafia system in Astrakhan.” The Kremlin has not yet publicly reacted to the protest.