Tags: Russia | russia | protests | navalny | arrested | putin

Russia Anti-Corruption Protests Draw Biggest Crowds Since 2012, Putin Critic Navalny Arrested

Image: Russia Anti-Corruption Protests Draw Biggest Crowds Since 2012, Putin Critic Navalny Arrested

Sunday, 26 Mar 2017 10:16 AM

Thousands of people gathered in Moscow and other major Russian cities Sunday, heeding a call by opposition leader Alexei Navalny to protest against official corruption in what appeared to be some of the largest anti-government demonstrations in the last five years.

Police detained scores of protesters in Moscow, including Navalny, 40, who was stopped shortly after arriving on Tverskaya Street in the capital’s downtown, his spokeswoman said in Twitter post. Navalny, who is campaigning for the presidency in next year’s elections despite doubts about whether he will be permitted to run, called the protests after releasing a film showing lavish estates that allegedly belong to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The government has denied those charges.

Protesters defied officials who refused to authorize the rallies. News agencies reported detentions of participants in Vladivostok, as well as in cities in Siberia and central Russia, where organizers reported turnout in the hundreds and low thousands.

While there were no independent estimates of overall turnout, Sunday’s rallies appeared to be the largest since 2012, when tens of thousands turned out against the Kremlin over allegations of widespread vote fraud. Web-cameras in Moscow showed crowds with thousands of people gathering at several of central squares along Tverskaya Street Sunday. Because authorities had refused a permit for the protest, organizers called on participants simply to turn out and walk. Scattered signs and anti-government chants were also heard.

Police, who opposition groups accuse of understating such counts, put the turnout in Moscow at about 8,000. Photos from the scene suggested actual numbers were much larger.

State media, which have typically ignored such events in recent years, covered some of Sunday’s demonstrations. A senior lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party seemed sympathetic to the participants’ concerns. Frants Klintsevich told the Ekho Moskvy radio station, ”these demonstrations probably raise a lot of justified criticisms and concerns.”

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Thousands of people gathered in Moscow and other major Russian cities Sunday, heeding a call by opposition leader Alexei Navalny to protest against official corruption in what appeared to be some of the largest anti-government demonstrations in the last five years.Police...
russia, protests, navalny, arrested, putin
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2017-16-26
Sunday, 26 Mar 2017 10:16 AM
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