Russia: protests in support of Navalny
Russia braces for fresh protests in support of Navalny despite crackdown
US Secretary of State condemned &# 171; using harsh tactics against peaceful protesters&# 187; in Russia
Russian police have detained more than 5,000 people during protests across the country calling for the release of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. This was reported by the monitoring group «OVD-Info».
This number includes 1,450 people detained in Moscow..
In Moscow, police detained Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, according to associates of the Russian opposition leader on social networks. She was already detained at a similar rally in support of her husband last week..
«If we are silent, then tomorrow they will come for any of us», – she wrote on Instagram before joining the protests.
Later, Navalnaya was released..
Actions in support of Navalny are being held in Russia for the second weekend in a row. His associates have called for nationwide demonstrations ahead of his trial, which begins on Tuesday, February 2..
Police said the protests were illegal because they were not sanctioned by the authorities. Authorities Says Demonstrators May Be Distributors Of COVID-19
Despite threats of arrest and prosecution, the first demonstrators took to the streets in the Russian Far East and Siberia.
In Novosibirsk, thousands of demonstrators marched, chanting: «Putin is a thief!». Police detained over 80 people.
In Moscow, authorities announced the closure of seven metro stations and restrictions on pedestrian traffic in the city center.
During the protest, a column of demonstrators headed for a prison in northern Moscow where Navalny is being held, chanting: «Let go!»
According to police estimates, about 2,000 people took part in the protest action in Moscow. Reuters estimated the number of attendees at several thousand, noting that there were fewer of them than last weekend..
In St. Petersburg and Moscow, police used force in arrests and, in some cases, used stun guns. One protester was seen with a bloody, bandaged head.
The current protests are a test of Navalny’s supporters after many of his prominent allies have faced harassment over the past week. Several people, including his brother, Oleg Navalny, have been placed under house arrest.
The West called on Moscow to release Navalny. His allies have asked US President Joe Biden to impose sanctions on 35 people they say are close allies of Putin..
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken condemned what he called the continued use of harsh tactics against peaceful protesters and journalists and called for Navalny’s release.
In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the United States of hypocrisy, interference in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation and encouraging protests as part of the strategy of containing Russia..
«What is done in such cases in the United States itself is well known to everyone. – open fire to kill», – said the Russian Foreign Ministry.
American lawmakers are actively reacting to events in Russia.
«The desire of Russians to create a more transparent and more accountable political culture – this is their fight, not ours», – stated Senator Bob Menendez in a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
«but, – the legislator continued, – we must never impede their activities by turning a blind eye to violence during repression or… corruption (by) officials».
In a statement circulated the other day, Menendez expressed support for the bold approach to the issue demonstrated by Secretary of State Blinken and presidential national security adviser Jake Sullivan..