MOSCOW: Thousands of protesters have gathered in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan to support a hunger-striking politician who alleges fraud during a recent mayoral election.
Russian news reports cited police as saying three people have been detained. Police estimated 350 people showed up, but video streamed from the protest site showed a much larger throng.
The Saturday rally is the latest in a string of sometimes massive protests since December's fraud-tainted national parliament election. The opposition has placed much of the blame for that election on Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Oleg Shein, a member of the Just Russia party who ran for mayor in Astrakhan, has been on a hunger strike for a month. He and supporters allege rampant fraud in favor of a Kremlin-backed candidate.