css-14iz86j-BoldText {Font size: bold;} The Russian police have more than 3000 people arrested to crack down on protests in support of the imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny

Tens of thousands of people resisted a heavy police presence to take part in some of the largest rallies against President Vladimir Putin in years

He was arrested after flying back to Moscow from Berlin, where he recovered from a near-fatal nerve agent attack in Russia last August

Upon his return he was immediately taken into custody and found guilty of parole violation. He says it was a fabricated case designed to silence him

OVD Info, an independent NGO that monitors rallies, said around 3100 people were arrested, more than 1200 in Moscow alone The Kremlin has not commented

The unauthorized demonstrations took place in about 100 cities from the Far East and Siberia to Moscow and St Petersburg protesters ranged from teenage students to the elderly demanding the release of Mr. Navalny

According to estimates by Reuters news agency, at least 40000 people attended a rally in central Moscow, however, the Russian Interior Ministry put the number of demonstrators at 4000

Observers say the scale of demonstrations across the country was unprecedented, while the protest in the capital was the largest in nearly a decade

In the city’s Pushkin Square, some demonstrators sang “Freedom to Navalny” and “Putin go away!” A woman told the BBC that she decided to join the demonstration because “Russia has been turned into a prison camp”

Sergei Radchenko, a 53-year-old protester in Moscow, told Reuters: “I’m tired of being scared. I showed up not only for myself and Navalny, but for my son because there is no future in this country “

Lyubov Sobol, a prominent advisor to Mr Navalny who had already received a fine for telling the Russians to join the protests, tweeted a video of police roughly dragging them away from interviewing reporters. p>

Mr Navalny’s wife, Julia, was briefly detained at the rally. She posted a picture on her Instagram account with the caption: “Sorry for the poor quality Very poor light in the police car”

Some protesters marched into the maximum security prison where Mr Navalny is being held, and many were arrested

Meanwhile, an independent news source, Sota, said at least 3000 people had joined a demonstration in the city of Vladivostok, but the local authorities estimated the number at 500

AFP footage showed riot police running into a crowd and beating some of the protesters with batons

In the Siberian city of Yakutsk, the participants of a small protest saw that the temperatures dropped to -50 ° C

Before the rallies, Russian authorities had promised to crack down on cracks. Several close advisers to Mr Navalny, including his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, were arrested earlier this week

There were reports of cellular and internet coverage disruptions on Saturday, although it is not known if this was related to the protests

The TikTok social media app has been flooded with videos promoting the demonstrations and exchanging viral messages about Mr Navalny

In response, Russia’s official media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, urged TikTok to remove any information “encouraging minors to act illegally,” and faced heavy fines The Education Ministry had told parents not to allow their children to take part in demonstrations

To get support ahead of the protests, Mr Navalny’s team released a video about a luxury Black Sea resort allegedly owned by President Putin – an allegation denied by the Kremlin, the video has been seen by more than 65 million people

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Saturday condemned the “use of force against peaceful demonstrators and journalists” and called on the authorities to release those detained during peaceful demonstrations

The US State Department condemned the so-called “tough tactics” against protesters and journalists, saying: “We call on the Russian authorities to release all detainees who are detained for the exercise of their universal rights and the immediate and unconditional release of Aleksey Navalny are”

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the bloc’s foreign ministers would discuss Russia’s actions on Monday

Tens of thousands of people have attended some of the largest rallies against President Vladimir Putin in years

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World news – USA – Alexei Navalny: “More than 3000 arrested “in protests across Russia

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55778334