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Arrests at Widespread Russia Protests Hit 3,000

24 Jan 2021 23:06

Islam Times - Russian security forces clashed with tens of thousands of protesters across the country on Saturday as supporters of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny demanded his release.

According to OVD-Info, an activist group that tracks detentions at protests, more than 3,100 people had been arrested in 109 cities across the country. Among those taken into custody in Moscow — and later released — was Mr. Navalny’s wife, Yulia, who posted a photo of herself in a police wagon on Instagram. She was later released.

Navalny has been jailed for 30 days after he allegedly breached the terms of a three-and-a-half year sentence, suspended for five years, when he lost contact with prison service authorities last autumn. He had been transferred to Berlin’s Charite hospital in a comatose state after what his supporters say was a state-sponsored assassination attempt with the nerve agent Novichok.

The Kremlin has denied these claims, with President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, adding that Navalny has a “persecution complex” and allegedly compares himself to Jesus.

The protests for his release have taken on an international dimension, with Russia’s Foreign Ministry accusing the local US Embassy of hypocrisy after its spokeswoman tweeted that the police response to opposition demonstrations was part of a “concerted campaign to suppress free speech [and] peaceful assembly.” Diplomats ridiculed the suggestion, pointing to the violent scenes that shocked the world earlier this month when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building in Washington.

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