Thursday, May 28, 2020 | ePaper

Russian opposition plans major Moscow protest after crackdown

  • Print


Riot police have arrested more than 2,400 in two recent Moscow opposition rallies File photo

AFP, Moscow :
 Russian opposition supporters plan a major protest in Moscow on Saturday after police detained thousands at recent demonstrations that have been among the largest since President Vladimir Putin's return to the Kremlin in 2012.
In recent weeks, thousands have attended street protests calling for free and fair elections after the exclusion of several opposition figures, including allies of top Putin critic Alexei Navalny, from local Moscow elections next month.
Riot police and the national guard have used more violent tactics than previously and detained more than 2,000 at the last two rallies, which were not authorised by city officials.
Most opposition candidates who have been banned from participating in the vote have been jailed for violating protest laws.
A dozen protesters including university students face criminal charges of "mass disorder" that call for lengthy jail terms, despite their supporters insisting protests were peaceful.
Saturday's rally has been authorised which means participants should not face detention for protesting at the agreed location, but Navalny, who is currently in jail, has urged supporters to walk peacefully through the city afterwards.
Moscow police and the powerful Investigative Committee issued a warning against participating in unsanctioned protests which it said would be "immediately halted."
Showing the movement's appeal to young Russians, popular electronic and rap musicians are expected to play at the rally and mainstream celebrities have announced they will attend.
One of Russia's most famous rappers, Oxxxymiron, urged his fans to go, as did a star YouTube blogger Yury Dud.
"Let's not accept it as normal when innocent people are thrown in jail or harshly beaten up by police," Dud wrote on Instagram to his 2.3 million followers.
The latest demonstrations come as the authorities this week mounted their harshest attack yet on Navalny's team, focusing on his anti-corruption foundation which publishes investigations of officials close to Putin.
On Thursday investigators raided the foundation's office as part of a probe into alleged acceptance of donations of laundered money and a court froze the foundation's accounts.
"This is the most aggressive attempt yet to gag us," Navalny wrote in a blog entry he issued through lawyers while serving a 30-day sentence.
One of the foundation's lawyers, Lyubov Sobol, has been on hunger strike for weeks after being refused as a candidate in Moscow.
"These are all acts of political intimidation, political repression," she told journalists on Friday, condemning the criminal cases launched against activists as "fabricated and politically motivated."
As he enters his third decade in power, Putin's approval ratings have dropped significantly in recent months and critics say authorities fear any outlet calling for wider political change.
Moscow has even accused the US of encouraging people to attend protests, after the embassy posted the route of a recent march along with warnings to avoid the area.
"The repressive scenario that the authorities are relying on can probably dampen down open discontent but is hardly likely to reach the root of the problem," wrote Vedomosti daily in an editorial.
"A large section of society is not represented in power."

More News For this Category

Prison riot kills 23 in Colombia as Chile enforces virus curfew

Prison riot kills 23 in Colombia as Chile enforces virus curfew

AFP :Panic over the spread of the coronavirus sparked a prison riot in Colombia that killed 23 inmates on Sunday, as Chile became the latest Latin American country to announce

US envoy says Kabul, Taliban in first prisoner exchange talks

US envoy says Kabul, Taliban in first prisoner exchange talks

AFP :The Afghan government and the Taliban on Sunday held their first discussion on arranging prisoner exchanges, a key step in a broader push for peace, the US special envoy

US Secretary of State Pompeo visits Kabul amid multiple crises

US Secretary of State Pompeo visits Kabul amid multiple crises

AFP  :US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, a pool report said, amid an ongoing political crisis, a raging Taliban insurgency and rising

Queen Elizabeth II moves out of palace as aide tests virus positive

NDTV :The 93-year-old monarch shifted out of the palace to Windsor Castle indefinitely on Thursday as a "precaution" and reports are that she is healthy.The aide is believed to have

Fears Bali will emerge as Indonesia's coronavirus hotspot

Fears Bali will emerge as Indonesia's coronavirus hotspot

Al Jazeera News :Denpasar, Indonesia - Authorities in Bali will allow tens of thousands of people to attend Hindu ceremonies for the island's new year, or Nyepi, celebrations this week

Zero coronavirus cases in North Korea?

Zero coronavirus cases in North Korea?

AFP :North Korea has said it has released almost all the foreigners it quarantined as a precaution.With international focus on the coronavirus, North Korea has doubled down on its missile

Iran leader refuses US help, citing virus conspiracy theory

Iran leader refuses US help, citing virus conspiracy theory

AP, Dubai :Iran's supreme leader Sunday refused U.S. assistance to fight the new coronavirus, citing an unfounded conspiracy theory that the virus could be man-made by America.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments

N Korea says Trump's letter offers anti-virus cooperation

N Korea says Trump's letter offers anti-virus cooperation

AP, Seoul :President Donald Trump sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seeking to maintain good relations and offering cooperation in fighting the viral pandemic, Kim's

Netanyahu offers to step down next year in unity deal

Netanyahu offers to step down next year in unity deal

AP, Jerusalem :Israel's prime minister Saturday said he is ready to step down next year as part of a proposed power-sharing agreement with his chief rival meant to steer the

Virus concerns lead to 'public' meetings without the public

Virus concerns lead to 'public' meetings without the public

AP, Jefferson City :First, Oklahoma lawmakers excluded the public from the Capitol because of coronavirus concerns.Then with the public gone, lawmakers made an emergency change to the state's open-meetings law