Russia’s interior ministry has launched an investigation after a video went viral showing a riot police officer punching a woman in the stomach during a protest for free elections. The footage shows Daria Sosnovskaya, 26, being dragged by two masked police officers in riot gear, with one of them punching her in the stomach before reaching down to pick up a baton. The images provoked outrage in the media and on social networks. 

Sosnovskaya, in an interview to the Mediazona website, said she was dragged away by police for protesting against the detention of a disabled man. A decision to block opposition candidates from running for election to Moscow’s city parliament has prompted a wave of protests that are among the largest since Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012.

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