International monitors have stated that the Russian police have been detained in an extraordinary crackdown on protests in support of Alexei Navalny, the jailed opposition leader. Thousands of protesters defied the heavy presence of the law enforcement and participated in some of the largest rallies against the incumbent Putin in years.
The footage circulating on social media platforms showed Moscow’s riot p0olice dragging and beating protesters. Following his arrest on Sunday, Navalny, one of the most prominent critics of Putin, called on supporters for mass protests. He was arrested as he landed in Moscow from Berlin, where he had been under treatment after an injury in Russia last year.
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Immediately after he landed, the authorities charged him with violating parole rules. But Navalny has described this as a trumped-up case against him. An independent NGO, OVD info, claimed that the police officers detained as many as 3,100 people, with more than 1,200 in the Russian capital alone.
Thousands of people took to the streets in more than a hundred cities and participated in the unauthorized rallies. Reuters reported that in central Moscow more than 40,000 people attended the protests. But on the other hand, the Russian interior ministry estimated the number of protesters at a mere 4,000.
Meanwhile, political experts have described the latest protests as unprecedented while the demonstration in Moscow was by far the largest in a decade. During Saturday’s rallies, some of the protesters marched on the heavily guarded security prison where Navalny was being detained, and in response, police arrested many demonstrators.
Additionally, the video posted by Associated Press showed the riot police officers running into the rallies, beating, and dragging the protesters with batons. Plus, there were also reports of internet and mobile services, however, it remains unknown that whether the move was motivated by protests. The UK’s foreign secretary Dominic and American State Department also criticized the use of violence by the Russian police.
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