Police gathered greater than 1,700 protesters on Wednesday as Russians in dozens of cities participated in rallies organized by allies of hunger-striking Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny over his failing well being in jail.
His spokesperson was jailed for 10 days, and one other shut ally was arrested, the identical day President Vladimir Putin gave a state-of-the-nation speech warning the West to not cross the “strains. reds ”from Russia and made no point out of Navalny. .
“This is likely one of the final gasps of a free Russia, as many say. We spoke out for Alexei … in opposition to a warfare in Ukraine and savage propaganda,” stated Marina, a pupil on the protest. Moscow.
OVD-Information, a gaggle that displays protests and detentions, stated 1,782 folks have been arrested, together with 804 in St. Petersburg and 119 within the metropolis of Urals in Ufa.
Protesters in central Moscow chanted “Freedom for Navalny!” and “Let the medical doctors in!”. Navalny’s spouse Yulia joined the rally within the capital, the place protesters chanted her title.
The opposition had hoped the rallies could be the most important in fashionable Russian historical past and have been touting them as an try to avoid wasting Navalny’s life by persuading authorities to permit his personal medics to deal with him.
However turnout appeared decrease than at protests earlier this 12 months earlier than Navalny was jailed for two.5 years on parole violations associated to what he stated have been costs of motivated embezzlement. Politics.
Police stated 6,000 folks demonstrated illegally in Moscow, whereas Navalny’s YouTube channel stated the turnout within the capital was as much as 10 occasions larger. Alexey Venediktov, a veteran journalist and head of the Ekho Moskvy radio station, stated 10,000-15,000 folks gathered in Moscow and seven,000-9,000 in St. Petersburg.
Navalny, 44, who survived a nerve agent assault final 12 months that Russian authorities have denied committing, is skinny and weak after ravenous himself for 3 weeks, and his allies say he’s susceptible to kidney failure or cardiac arrest. The US has warned Russia that it’s going to endure “penalties” if he dies.
State Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova stated 4 medical doctors outdoors the federal jail company visited Navalny on Tuesday and located no critical well being issues. Russia says he was handled like every other prisoner.
The confrontation over Navalny’s destiny is a crucial level in Moscow’s disastrous relations with the West, already worsened by financial sanctions, diplomatic expulsions and the strengthening of the Russian military close to Ukraine.
UN human rights specialists have urged Moscow to permit Navalny to be medically assessed overseas. They stated they believed his life was at risk as a result of he was being held “in circumstances which may quantity to torture”.
CALL TO “ FIGHT THIS DARKNESS ”
Navalny spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh and an ally Lyubov Sobol have been arrested close to their house in Moscow hours earlier than the rally within the capital. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, who chairs the European Union summits, described their arrests as “deplorable”.
Yarmysh was then jailed for 10 days throughout a listening to for inciting folks to protest. Sobol was launched earlier than a listening to Thursday.
Navalny’s assistant Ruslan Shaveddinov tweeted: “That is repression. It can’t be accepted. We’ve to combat this darkness.”
Dozens of police vans have been deployed in central Moscow. The sq. the place activists hoped to assemble was surrounded by steel obstacles, as was Pink Sq..
As much as about 300 folks demonstrated in Vladivostok, some carrying banners saying “Freedom for political prisoners” and “No warfare, repression and torture!”
“Everybody realizes that the present authorities don’t have anything new to supply for the nation. We want a brand new technology of politicians. I think about Navalny to be certainly one of them,” Ilya stated. , a 19-year-old pupil from the Far Jap metropolis of Vladivostok.
Elsewhere, riot police used pressure to make arrests. In Magadan, in far japanese Russia, officers compelled a person to the bottom and pinned his arms.
Navalny went on a starvation strike over what he stated was the jail’s refusal to carry him again from offering him with correct remedy for leg and again ache. The state jail service stated his situation was passable.
Navalny’s activist community faces growing strain. Moscow state prosecutors final week began authorized steps to ban his teams as extremist organizations.
US Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate International Relations Committee, urged the Russian authorities to offer Navalny with medical remedy and referred to as for sanctions.
“It’s barbarism taking part in out in actual time, and we can’t stay silent,” he stated.
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