Fmtnews, Navalny

Fmtnews, Navalny

Thousands of Navalny supporters protest against Putin's rule

Demonstrators are seen holding signs that read ‘Russia will be free’ and chanting ‘Putin is a thief’.

23/1/2021 4:23:00 PM

Demonstrators are seen holding signs that read ‘Russia will be free’ and chanting ‘Putin is a thief’. FMTNews Navalny

Demonstrators are seen holding signs that read ‘Russia will be free’ and chanting ‘Putin is a thief’.

By-January 23, 2021 9:15 PMPolice detain a man during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow today. (AP pic)MOSCOW: Thousands of supporters of Russia’s jailed opposition figure Alexei Navalny rallied in Moscow on Saturday, AFP journalists reported, answering his call for nationwide protests against President Vladimir Putin’s rule.

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Demonstrators gathered at Moscow’s central Pushkin Square and nearby streets despite a heavy police presence and detentions, holding signs that read “Russia will be free” and chanting “Putin is a thief”.Some then marched towards the Kremlin, while others blocked Tverskaya Street, the Russian capital’s main thoroughfare.

Navalny, 44, called on his allies to take to the streets after he was detained in a Moscow airport last weekend. He was arrested moments after arriving from Germany, where he had been flown in August to recover from a near-fatal poisoning with the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok.

Moscow police, which the opposition says downplays turnout at anti-government demonstrations, reported that around 4,000 people had gathered in the centre of the capital.AFP journalists saw protesters throw snowballs at heavily armed riot police, who responded by drawing their batons on the demonstrators.

Police detained nearly 400 people in cities in the Far East, Siberia and the Urals earlier Saturday where demonstrators braved icy temperatures and official warnings, said OVD Info, which tracks opposition arrests.At least 2,000 of the prominent political activist’s supporters gathered in Russia’s second city Saint Petersburg Saturday, chanting “Putin is a thief” and “freedom”.

Nadezhda Golova, a 70-year-old protester, said she joined the protests because of the standard of living in Russia, complaining that only police are looked after.“There is no work, so people are leaving,” she told AFP.Lyubov Sobol, a prominent aide to Navalny who was fined this week for calling on Russians to protest Saturday, was detained on Pushkin Square.

Several of Navalny’s aides were handed short jail terms and prison sentences on the eve of the protest for urging people to take to the streets.This week Navalny released a video investigation alleging that Putin was the owner of a palatial property on the Black Sea worth more than US$1 billion.

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