Saturday, January 23, 2021
Thousands of arrests
Nationwide protests against Putin
In several Russian cities, people followed the Kremlin critic Navalny's call to demonstrate. The largest demonstrations are in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The state power sets thousands of participants nationwide.
In Russia, tens of thousands of supporters of the Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny took to the streets against Russian President Vladimir Putin. More than 2,000 rally participants were arrested in the nationwide protests. Protesters were taken away by riot police and beaten with batons. Navalny's wife Julia Navalnaya was also temporarily arrested and was released that afternoon.
According to estimates, the largest rallies took place in Moscow with around 20,000 participants and in St. Petersburg with more than 10,000 people. Nawalny's team spread videos throughout the day of rallies held in different parts of the country. Participants shouted "Putin – thief!", "Navalny – we are with you!" and "Freedom for the political prisoners!" These were the largest rallies since summer 2019, when Navalny triggered a wave of protests on the occasion of local elections.
The security forces arrested almost 800 people in Moscow; according to the non-governmental organization OWD Info, there were at least 2131 people in the entire country. The well-known activist Lyubov Sobol was also arrested. The human rights organization Amnesty International criticized the fact that many "peaceful" and young demonstrators were arbitrarily beaten and arrested.
For the capital, the state agency Tass reports that more than 40 security guards have been injured. These were mainly minor injuries. Nobody was taken to the hospital. Protesters threw snowballs at the emergency services. The state agency Ria Novosti reported that three police officers had been doused with white paint.
Kremlin attacks US embassy
In Moscow, some of the demonstrators moved to the Kremlin that afternoon. The Russian government accused US diplomats of having actively participated in the mass protests. The US embassy in Moscow had published routes that could be used by Navalny's supporters, wrote Foreign Office spokeswoman Maria Sakharova on Facebook. "The US colleagues will have to explain that." They also distributed information about a "March on the Kremlin".
Navalny called for protests against Putin after he was arrested on Sunday last week immediately after his return from Germany to Russia. The 44-year-old was treated in Berlin after a poison attack in August. On Monday, a Russian court ruled that he was sentenced to 30 days in prison for violating suspended sentences. Navalny blames the Kremlin for the assassination attempt.
68 million video hits on Putin
The 44-year-old is now in the notorious Matrosskaya Tishina maximum security prison, where several members of the opposition have already died. Navalny's close ally Leonid Volkov told the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung" that it had already happened in Russia that opposition members had been poisoned twice in a row. He therefore called on the Russian civilian population to protest. "The only protection" for Navalny is "maximum visibility and popular support".
Numerous people across the country followed Nawalny's call to protest on Sunday. The first rallies took place in the Far East of Russia and in Siberia, where, according to OWD, around 200 people were arrested. In Jakustk, northern Russia, demonstrators defied extremely winter temperatures of minus 50 degrees and took to the streets for Navalny's release. There were also rallies by Navalny supporters in Estonia and Lithuania.
Navalny and his supporters accuse the Kremlin of corruption, among other things. This week, Nawalny's team published research on a luxury palace allegedly owned by Putin and financed by bribes. The video has been viewed nearly 68 million times since Tuesday. The Kremlin has denied the allegations made in the video.
. (tagsToTranslate) Politics (t) Russia (t) Alexej Navalny (t) Vladimir Putin (t) Protests (t) Demonstrations (t) Democracy (t) Corruption (t) Kremlin