Russians join protests against jailing of Kremlin critic Navalny despite crackdown
Feb 03 2021
Police warned before the protests that they were illegal, and last weekend around 4,000 people were arrested.
In a video she made on Wednesday before being arrested, she called on people to not be afraid and take to the streets on Sunday to demand Navalny be freed from jail.
Police detained more than 500 people in Moscow and at least 2,200 across Russian Federation on Sunday at protests calling for the release of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, a monitor said. After more than a week of news coverage, the billionaire Akrady Rotenberg - one of the president's long-time, close personal friends - announced that he is the site's majority owner.
Other videos show riot police storming into protestors with baton charges.
The attitude war is clear: "If we keep silent, they can come and pick up any of us tomorrow", Navalnaga wrote in an Instagram post before the arrest.
His dramatic return to Moscow despite the obvious threat of arrest and the second straight weekend of protests at his jailing pose a challenge for Putin who has dominated the Russian political landscape for over two decades. Locations searched included Navalny's apartment, where police detained his brother, and a rented apartment where Navalny's wife, Yulia, has been living.
Along with Blinken, the account of the US Embassy in Russia has been tweeting a stream of tweets on the protests, accusing Russian authorities of "detaining activists, journalists and blocking off the center of Moscow" and calling on Russia to "comply with its global obligations in the area of human rights".
Just after Navalny's arrest, his team released a two-hour video on his YouTube channel about an opulent Black Sea residence purportedly built for Putin.
Navalny's team on Sunday hailed the protests and called for people to come out again on Tuesday at a court in Moscow where a hearing is due to decide whether to jail Navalny.
Prosecutors also demanded that social media platforms block calls to join the protests. The almost two-hour video has been watched over 100 million times on YouTube, forcing the Kremlin to respond.
Russian Federation has seen extensive corruption during Mr Putin's time in office even as many ordinary citizens struggle financially.
"All of us feel pinched financially, so people who take to the streets today feel angry", said Vladimir Perminov who protested in Moscow. And on Sunday, oligarch and Putin's former judo partner Arkady Rotenberg abruptly came forward claiming the palace was his and it was actually meant to be a hotel.
Navalny fell into a coma while aboard a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20. Russian authorities have refused to open a full-fledged criminal inquiry, citing a lack of evidence that he was poisoned.
When he returned to Russian Federation in January, Navalny was jailed for 30 days after Russia's prison service alleged he had violated the probation terms of his suspended sentence from a 2014 money-laundering conviction that he has rejected as political revenge. He is facing prison for years on whether his suspended sentence on fraud charges in a 2014 embezzlement case should become a jail term. Just as important, I think you need to watch Europe because interestingly, President Biden, before he called on Tuesday of last week, phoned a number of European leaders, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, the chancellor of Germany and the president of France, to kind of get on the same page.