Russian police arrest thousands during second weekend of pro-democracy protests
Andrew Trunsky, DCNF
Over 4,000 pro-democracy protesters gathering in support of Alexi Navalny, a vocal Kremlin critic, have been detained by Russian police since the beginning of last weekend, according to local media and pro-democracy organizations.
Large-scale protests began in Russia last weekend following Navalny’s arrest. He was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering from a near-fatal poisoning from a deadly nerve agent, which he has said was done at the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Protesters in central Moscow chanting “Down with the Tsar!”
Some have broken off and are heading to the Matrosskaya Tishina jail where opposition leader Navalny is being held. pic.twitter.com/O0q1JlKpAu
— Matthew Luxmoore (@mjluxmoore) January 31, 2021
Protests in support of Navalny already underway in Siberia and Russia’s Far East. In Vladivostok, protesters moved onto the ice over the Amur bay to escape police, and drew “Putin is a thief!” in the snow. https://t.co/h5nCbs2Hs8
— max seddon (@maxseddon) January 31, 2021
Russian authorities claimed that he violated the terms of his previous shortened sentence when he chose to stay in Germany when recovering instead of returning to Russia and remaining in contact with police.
Navalny is awaiting his February trial in a Russian jail for his alleged role in a 2014 embezzlement case which human rights groups have described as unfair.
Following his arrest, Navalny released an exposé alleging that a palace on the Black Sea was built for Russian President Vladimir Putin using funds generated from decades of corruption, calling it “the biggest bribe in history” and escalating his feud with the Russian government.
His arrest outraged top officials in the United States and across Europe, and some E.U. officials called for stricter Russian sanctions in response.
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