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Massive protests across Russia took place on Saturday in support of Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader and vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin Navalny was arrested last Sunday after returning to Moscow from Germany, where he was treated for poisoning which had allegedly been linked to the Kremlin five months earlier

According to Reuters, about 40 took000 people took part in the Moscow demonstrations, despite the fact that the police declared this number to be incorrect and the amount to 4000 estimated. Several thousand more attended cities across the country, from Yakutsk in the northeast to St Petersburg in the west and about 3 in total000 protesters were arrested

The people are now spreading in the city center and are being driven out of Pushkinskaya, the main place of the rally BildTwittercom / I3dgZ4f4wV

Protesters were met by a heavy police presence – and government officials had urged citizens to stay home on the grounds that the rallies did not have proper authorization

“Respected citizens, the current event is illegal,” the police reportedly announced during the demonstration in Moscow. “We are doing everything we can to ensure your safety”

Few protesters heeded these warnings, and the number of protests in Moscow, St According to reports by the human rights monitoring group OVD-Info, Petersburg and around 70 other cities are on at least 3000 of them increased in Moscow alone around 1100 people from Saturday 2330 p.m. Moscow time

Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, was among those arrested during this weekend’s protests. Prior to the protests, heads of his party’s regional offices and members of the Navalny team, including his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, were also arrested

Navalny’s arrest – and his team’s imprisonments – sparked an enormous mass movement.The size of the Moscow protests is reminiscent of the summer of 2019 when at least 60000 people demonstrated in this city to demand fair elections (Navalny was also arrested before this movement)

While many of the protesters were Navalny’s supporters, others said they came out more because they wanted to see a sweeping end to Putin’s authoritarian rule

“I have never been a great believer in Navalny, and yet I understand very well that this is a very serious situation,” Vitaliy Blazhevich, who was 57 years old and was one of the older participants in the demonstration, told the New York Times / p>

“If we don’t keep coming out [to protest], the problem in this country will never go away,” Natalya Krainova, a former teacher, told the Guardian. “And that problem is Putin”

Regardless of their motivation, demonstrators were confronted in many places with fast and aggressive police forces

For example, a video from Moscow shows police in protective clothing hitting demonstrators with batons. Dozens of demonstrators in that city were arrested outside the Matrosskaya Tishina detention center, where Navalny is being held

As night fell, police released smoke grenades in downtown Moscow and the demonstrators responded with snowballs, according to reporter Alec Luhn

The demonstrations were also notable for their enormous geographical diversity. On Twitter, Atlantic reporter Anne Applebaum collected scenes of major protests in the cities of Irkutsk, Novosirbirsk, Vladivostok, Tomsk and Yakutsk, mainly composed of young people, many of whom waved Russian flags

Yakutsk is in eastern Siberia, while Vladivostok is on the Sea of ​​Japan. In a Siberian winter, these protesters also brave brutally cold temperatures, with temperatures approaching -60 ° F in some places

As the clashes in Moscow continue, there are more ridiculous footage of the small pro-Navalny protest in Yakutsk, where there were -48 picturesTwittercom / Ne4TvYl51g

That the protests were so widespread and that they affected Russians of all ages shows, according to the Washington Post, that Navalny is attractive and able to mobilize supporters – especially young people –

In recent years, Putin has tried to fight dissent more aggressively as new laws make it harder to organize protests. Russians who demonstrated on Saturday face jail and other consequences

Artyom, a student who protested, told the Guardian he and his classmates had been threatened with serious academic consequences, which he said many believed would be expelled if they attended

Putin likely to stay in power on Saturday despite public opposition A recent amendment to the Russian constitution would allow Putin to stay in power for another 15 years

In August, Navalny fell ill at a Siberian airport before flying to Moscow. His team, worried that he was not receiving adequate care in Russia, worked with a humanitarian group that transported him to Germany for treatment where they were persecuted Doctors determined the cause of his illness, which was novichok, a deadly nerve agent known to be used by the Russian government

As Vox’s Alex Ward wrote, Navalny always promised to return to Russia, even if he continued to criticize Putin from Germany – including the Kremlin’s direct accusation of killing him on YouTube videos that have been viewed over 40 million times

As Navalny on 17 Arriving at Berlin Airport on his way back home on January 23, he said he was not afraid, despite Russian officials threatening to arrest him on his return. Hundreds of supporters violated anti-protest laws to get his plane at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport Instead, the plane was diverted to Sheremetyevo Airport, whereupon Navalny was arrested at passport control

The official indictment he faces is failure to appear at a parole hearing linked to a 2014 embezzlement case, Navalny has alleged these allegations are politically motivated, but if the indictment persists, he could be in for years Sit in prison

His most recent arrest follows years of attempts by the Kremlin to suppress his opposition and prevent Navalny from coming home by putting him on the federal wanted list and claiming he avoided inspectors overseas, as Ward wrote:

This is nothing new to Navalny.As mentioned, he has been arrested before – and even poisoned – so there is a possibility that he will eventually be released and take over the leading Russian anti-Putin movement. Sometimes he wants to Kremlin Navalny just remind them who is in charge and slow down their work in a way that tries to maintain the illusion of Russian democracy

But it’s also possible Putin had it, especially as he tried to stay in power for life, removing his top political nemesis would certainly make such a ploy easier, although it may lead to condemnation by other nations could, including the United States newly led by President-Elect Joe Biden

Navalny has received support from US officials Hours after Navalny was arrested, incoming National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan tweeted a statement condemning the detention of Putin critic, “Mr. Navalny should be released immediately, and the perpetrators of the outrageous Attack on his life must be held accountable, ”he wrote

And Rebecca Ross, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Moscow, tweeted on Saturday: “The US. supports the right of all people to peaceful protest and freedom of expression The measures taken by the Russian authorities suppress these rights ”

We see reports of protests in 38 Russian cities, arrests of 350 peaceful protesters and journalists The US supports the right of all people to peaceful protest and freedom of expression The measures taken by the Russian authorities suppress these rights

However, it is unclear how effective a U.S. response will be, Washington-Moscow relations – already cool – have continued to deteriorate since a hack by American federal agencies linked Russia to Russia in late 2020 last two remaining US consulates – one in Vladivostok and one in Yekaterinburg – closed and the US embassy in Moscow left as the only US outpost in the whole country

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World news – USA – Thousands of Russians were arrested during protests against Putin critic Alexei Navalny

Source: https://www.vox.com/2021/1/23/22246273/russian-protesters-arrested-alexei-navalny-demonstrations-putin-critic