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Russia arrests over 1 000 at rallies for hunger-striking Navalny



  • Russian police have arrested over 1 000 protesters at rallies for Alexei Navalny.
  • In keeping with a bunch that screens protests and detention 1 004 folks had been arrested.
  • The rally in Moscow was additionally joined by Navalny’s spouse Yulia.

Police rounded up greater than a thousand protesters on Wednesday as Russians in dozens of cities took half in rallies organised by allies of hunger-striking Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny over his failing well being in jail.

His spokeswoman was jailed for 10 days, and one other shut ally detained, on the identical day that President Vladimir Putin delivered a state-of-the-nation speech warning the West to not cross Russia’s “pink traces” and pointedly made no point out of Navalny.

“This is likely one of the final gasps of a free Russia, as many are saying. We got here out for Alexei … in opposition to a struggle in Ukraine and the wild propaganda,” mentioned Marina, a pupil on the Moscow protest.

OVD-Data, a bunch that screens protests and detentions, mentioned 1 004 folks had been arrested, together with 351 in St. Petersburg and 87 within the Urals metropolis of Ufa.

Protesters in central Moscow chanted, “Freedom to Navalny!” and “Let the docs in!”. Navalny’s spouse Yulia joined the rally within the capital, the place demonstrators chanted her title.

The opposition had hoped the rallies can be the most important in fashionable Russian historical past, and offered them as an try to save lots of Navalny’s life by persuading the authorities to permit his personal docs to deal with him.

However turnout seemed smaller than throughout protests earlier this 12 months earlier than Navalny was jailed for 2-1/2 years for parole violations associated to what he mentioned had been politically motivated prices of embezzlement.

Police mentioned 6 000 folks protested illegally in Moscow, whereas Navalny’s YouTube channel mentioned turnout within the capital was as much as 10 instances larger.

The 44-year-old, who final 12 months survived a nerve agent assault that Russian authorities denied finishing up, is skinny and weak after ravenous himself for 3 weeks, and his allies say he dangers kidney failure or cardiac arrest. The USA has warned Russia it can face “penalties” if he dies.

The state human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, mentioned 4 docs from outdoors the federal jail company had visited Navalny on Tuesday and located no severe well being issues. Russia says he has been handled as would every other prisoner.

The confrontation over Navalny’s destiny is a flashpoint in Moscow’s dire relations with the West, already aggravated by financial sanctions, diplomatic expulsions and a Russian navy buildup close to Ukraine.

UN human rights specialists urged Moscow to let Navalny be medically evaluated overseas. They mentioned they believed his life was in peril as he was being held in “circumstances that would quantity to torture”.

CALL TO ‘FIGHT THIS DARKNESS’

Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, and an ally, Lyubov Sobol, had been detained close to their Moscow houses hours earlier than the rally within the capital. European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs European Union summits, referred to as their arrests “deplorable”.

Yarmysh was later jailed for 10 days at a listening to for inciting folks to protest. Sobol was launched forward of a listening to on Thursday.

Navalny aide Ruslan Shaveddinov tweeted: “That is repression. This can’t be accepted. We have to struggle this darkness.”

Dozens of police vans had been deployed to the centre of Moscow. The sq. the place activists had hoped to assemble was cordoned off with metallic limitations, as was Pink Sq..

As much as about 300 folks protested in Vladivostok, some toting banners saying “Freedom for political prisoners” and “No struggle, repressions and torture!”

“Everybody realises the present authorities don’t have anything new to suggest for the nation. We want a brand new era of politicians. I see Navalny as one among them,” mentioned Ilya, a 19-year-old pupil within the far jap metropolis of Vladivostok.

Elsewhere, riot police used pressure to make arrests. In Magadan, in Russia’s far east, officers pressured a person to the bottom and pinned again his arms.

Navalny launched his starvation strike over what he mentioned was the refusal of the jail holding him to supply him with correct therapy for leg and again ache. The state jail service has mentioned his situation is passable.

Navalny’s activist community faces mounting strain. State prosecutors in Moscow started authorized strikes final week to ban his teams as extremist organisations.

US Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate International Relations Committee, urged the Russian authorities to supply Navalny with medical care and referred to as for sanctions.

“That is barbarism taking part in out in actual time, and we can’t be silent,” he mentioned.


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