Navalny’s wife detained at Moscow protest
Police have detained Yulia Navalny, the wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, along with a politician and over 350 other protesters.
They were attending nationwide rallies on Saturday in support of Navalny.
Yulia Navalny posted a picture of her inside a police van on her Instagram account, complaining the lack of light made for a bad photograph.
Around 90 protests are taking place, including in capital city Moscow.
Police called the rallies illegal and said that they would be “immediately suppressed.”
Navalny was arrested on his return to Russia from Germany on January 17, following a near-fatal poisoning with a nerve agent.
He was handed a 30-day jail term for violating the terms of a suspended sentence he was given in 2014 on fraud charges.
The 44-year-old says the charges are politically motivated.
The US, the European Union, France and Canada have urged his release. The EU has also imposed sanctions on Russia over Navalny’s arrest.
Thousands of people gathered in Moscow to march from central Pushkin Square to the Kremlin. The Interior Ministry estimated 4,000 people attended. News agency Reuters estimated the figure was likely 10,000.
“Mass arrests have already started on Moscow’s Pushkin Square — even before the official beginning of a protest demanding Navalny be let out of prison. Police seem to be grabbing people on the square at random. Dozens of arrests across the country at other protests already,” reported DW’s Russia correspondent Emily Sherwin.
Prominent activist Lyubov Sobol was detained by police at the protest, broadcaster TV Rain reported.
She is a lawyer for Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. She was also detained on Thursday along with Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh for calling on people to join the protests.
Politician Lev Shlosberg tweeted that he had been detained. He holds a seat on the Pskov Regional Assembly, in northwestern Russia.
The day of protests kicked off in cities in Russia’s far east which is several time zones ahead of Moscow.
Navalny’s headquarters in Khabarovsk said on Twitter that several dozen protesters were rounded up by authorities in the city shortly after the demonstrations began. Video footage showed protesters braving freezing temperatures and chanting “Shame!” and “Bandits!”
The protests in Khabarovsk are also focused on the arrest of the city’s popular former governor, Sergei Furgal.
In Vladivostok, video footage showed riot police chasing a group of protesters down the street.
Some braved temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) in Siberian Yakutia to protest.
© 2021 DR