Russian Opposition Figure Navalny Detained in Moscow Amid Unlicensed Protest

Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny
Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny
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27 March, 2017

The protests, which attracted crowds of hundreds or thousands in most sizeable Russian cities, were the largest coordinated outpourings of dissatisfaction in Russia since mass protests in 2011-2012. Protesters then tried to prevent a police van from taking him away.

Scuffles with police erupted sporadically and the arrested demonstrators included a gray-haired man whom police dragged along the pavement.

Navalny called for the protests after publishing a detailed report this month accusing Medvedev of controlling a property empire through a shadowy network of non-profit organisations.

He called for them after his Foundation for Fighting Corruption released a report contending that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has amassed a collection of mansions, yachts and vineyards.

Thousands came out on Moscow's central Tverskaya street for the unsanctioned protests and were met by a heavy police presence, which began detaining demonstrators en masse around 30 minutes after the rallies began.

Protestors denouncing government corruption gathered in cities across Russian Federation on Sunday and dozens of arrests have been reported. Scores of protesters were arrested in St. Petersburg as Russian media claimed a policeman was killed.

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"People are unhappy with the fact that there's been no investigation" of the corruption allegations, said Moscow protester Ivan Gronstein.

Navalny announced in December that he will run for president in a March 2018 election when Putin is widely expected to seek a new six-year term.

They appeared to be one of the largest coordinated outpourings of political resentment in Russian Federation since the massive 2011-2013 rallies against a fraud-tainted parliamentary election.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 people filled Pushkin square, with some shouting "Russia without Putin", referring to President Vladimir Putin.

Demonstrations were also held in Saint-Petersburg, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, Tomsk and several other cities, where arrests had also been reported.

Despite the dramatic scenes in Moscow, state TV did not cover the protests, instead showing soap operas and nature films.


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