MOSCOW, September 4 (RAPSI) – Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court on Wednesday sentenced activist Kirill Zhukov, who had committed an assault on a National Guard officer during an unauthorized rally in Moscow on July 27, to 3 years in penal colony, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.

The man was found guilty of the use of force against a representative of authority. The court found that the defendant knocked down an officer by butting him in the face. Zhukov pleaded not guilty.

A prosecutor earlier demanded a 4.5-year imprisonment for the defendant.

Protest actions began in Moscow in mid-July after election commissions denied registration of certain opposition members as candidates for the Moscow City Duma elections reasoning that documents submitted by them contained numerous violations.

The first unauthorized rally took place hear the Moscow City Election Commission’s building on July 14 and looked like a provocation, according to law experts.

Unauthorized rallies in support of candidates seeking to become lawmakers of the Moscow State Duma but refused registration by the Election Commission were also held on July 27 and August 3 in central Moscow. Over 1,000 people were arrested for various violations as a result.

Following the 27 July rally, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case over mass riots. Investigators believe that the protest action was held with the use of force against representatives of authority.

Several well-known opposition figures including Alexey Navalny, Dmitry Gudkov, Ilya Yashin were arrested and put in detention for alleged organization of an unauthorized rally.

On August 10, an authorized rally in support of unregistered election candidates took place in Moscow and gathered as many as 25,000 participants, according to the police statistics.