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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma to Investigate Protesters

The State Duma and the Public Chamber are investigating the actions of police and demonstrators during recent opposition rallies that were violently dispersed, officials said Tuesday.

The Duma is investigating protesters' actions "to identify the organizers and sponsors of those events," said Yury Bosenko, an aide to Duma Deputy Speaker Oleg Morozov.

Some officials have suggested that foreign governments were interested in destabilizing Russia and were funding street protests and opposition groups.

Meanwhile, the Public Chamber has begun its own investigation into widespread accusations that riot police used excessive force to break up the rallies, spokeswoman Maria Ryklyna said.

The chamber decided to request a meeting with senior law enforcement officials after hearing complaints about police actions from leading rights activists on Tuesday, she said.

In Luxembourg, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that any cases of police misconduct in breaking up the Dissenters' March in Moscow would be thoroughly investigated.

"All necessary measures will be taken in cases where abuse of authority is confirmed," he said in comments reported by Interfax.

Independent State Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov said Tuesday that he had asked Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to investigate the police response to recent opposition rallies.

Last week, Ryzhkov sent Prosecutor General Yury Chaika 37 pages of complaints he had received from citizens about police brutality.

Garry Kasparov's United Civil Front, a member of opposition coalition The Other Russia, which organized the marches, has received 80 complaints from demonstrators, while the office of Vladimir Lukin, the country's human rights ombudsman, has received only five, Noviye Izvestia reported Tuesday.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in St. Petersburg have opened a criminal investigation into how police broke up a Dissenters' March last month in the northern capital, the St. Petersburg city government said in a statement.

AP, MT, Reuters