Here’s a developing story on the final day of voting in Russia’s election, marked by protests at polling stations as President Vladimir Putin is poised to extend his long hold on power.

Russia witnessed demonstrations at polling stations on Sunday, with lines growing rapidly around noon local time as supporters of the deceased opposition leader Alexey Navalny called for a show of opposition support. In Moscow, a CNN team reported a sudden surge in voters waiting in line, with police letting people in batches through security checks.

Some voters expressed their reasons for joining the queue at noon, with one 39-year old mentioning that he wanted to see others expressing their support and another woman stating that it was the first time in her life she had seen a queue for elections.

Reports indicate that protests also took place at polling stations across the country, with social media channels showing video clips of long lines in various cities, including Moscow and St Petersburg. Navalny’s supporters overseas also formed queues outside Russian embassies in Berlin and London.

Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s widow, was pictured in Berlin greeting supporters rallying against Putin. She had called for an all-Russian protest action, urging participants to register their protest by showing up at polling booths and making their own choice on how to express opposition.

The election has seen acts of civil disobedience, with at least 15 criminal cases filed in response to incidents such as pouring dye in ballot boxes and starting fires. More than 60 Russians were detained on Sunday, according to independent human rights group OVD-Info.

This election marks the third and final day of voting, with Putin expected to secure a fifth term in office. The turnout has surpassed 70% of eligible voters, with official figures showing a higher turnout in the final hours compared to the 2018 election.

If reelected, Putin’s rule would extend until at least 2030, potentially allowing him to stay in power until 2036 under constitutional changes made in 2020. This would solidify his position as Russia’s longest-serving ruler since Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

As the situation continues to unfold, stay tuned for updates on the ongoing protests and the results of the Russian presidential election.


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