Russia Arrests Over 1,000 Navalny Supporters At Anti-Putin Rallies
Faizan Hashmi 1 month ago Sat 23rd January 2021 | 07:50 PM
Moscow, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 23rd Jan, 2021 ) :Russian police on Saturday detained over 1,000 protesters, including the wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, as several thousands took to the streets nationwide to denounce President Vladimir Putin's rule.
Navalny had called on Russians to protest this week after surviving a near-fatal poisoning with Novichok and returning to Moscow following months of treatment in Germany, only to be arrested on arrival.
Some protesters marched towards the Kremlin, while others blocked Tverskaya Street, the Russian capital's main thoroughfare.
Police clashed with the demonstrators in the city centre and hit them with truncheons, AFP journalists said. The protesters threw snowballs at the police.
Navalny's Anti-Corruption Fund said on Twitter said that "an incredible number" of people had gathered in the capital.
Moscow police, which are accused of downplaying turnout at rallies, said 4,000 turned up.
Over 1,000 protesters were arrested across the country, the OVD monitoring group said.
Navalny's supporters in Moscow held signs saying "Free Navalny" and "Don't be afraid" and chanted "Putin is the enemy of people." The rallies are a test of the opposition's ability to mobilise ahead of parliamentary elections this year, despite increasing Kremlin pressure on critics.
- 'Criminals in uniforms' - Protesters said they wanted new leadership and that authorities were persecuting Navalny for speaking the truth.
"Putin and oligarchs are afraid of losing their trough. That's why they are dispersing people," Spivakova said.
In Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg where around 10,000 people took to the streets, 20-year-old Alexei Skvortsov said he no longer wanted to live in a "dictatorship." "People are tired of Putin," he said.
"I know perfectly well that there are lots of good people outside of my prison's walls and help will come," he said.
A hastily organised court on Monday jailed Navalny for 30 days for allegedly flouting parole conditions.
- 'Putin palace' - The "Putin's palace" report released by Navalny alleges the Russian leader owns a 17,691 square metre mansion that sits on a property 39 times the size of Monaco. The Kremlin has denied the property belongs to Putin.
A hashtag demanding freedom for Navalny was trending on TikTok, a video app popular with teens, and videos demanding Navalny's release garnered hundreds of millions of views.
Russia's media watchdog warned online platforms against encouraging minors to participate in the rallies or risk hefty fines.