Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
NEW! Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+ Try 7 Days Free

Russian police detain prominent opposition activist before protest

Economy Aug 03, 2019 02:40PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. Rally calling for opposition candidates to be registered for elections to Moscow City Duma in Moscow

By Andrew Osborn and Maria Tsvetkova

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police forcibly detained over 800 people attending a protest in Moscow on Saturday to demand free elections, including prominent activist Lyubov Sobol, after authorities warned the demonstration was illegal.

Police removed Sobol from a taxi and bundled her into a van minutes before the start of what anti-Kremlin activists described as a peaceful walk to protest against the exclusion of their candidates from an election next month.

Soon after the start of the protest, a Reuters reporter saw several hundred people milling around at one of the designated protest points in central Moscow. Minutes later, a line of riot police began to squeeze people out of the area.

OVD-Info, an independent monitoring group, said police had detained 828 people, in some cases beating them with truncheons as they lay on the floor. Reuters reporters witnessed dozens of arrests. In one case police carried off a man as he clung upside down to his bicycle.

Police said they had detained 600 and said 1,500 had attended the protest, though footage of demonstrations which flared in different parts of Moscow suggested many more had taken part.

Saturday's protest was smaller than one a week earlier, but underlined the determination of some Kremlin critics -- especially younger people -- to keep pressing to open up Russia's tightly-choreographed political system.

The focus of protesters' anger is a prohibition on a number of opposition-minded candidates, some of whom are allies of jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny, from taking part in a September election for Moscow's city legislature.

That vote, though local, is seen as a dry run for a national parliamentary election in 2021.

Authorities say opposition candidates failed to collect enough genuine signatures to register. The excluded candidates say that is a lie and insist on taking part in a contest they believe they could win.

"They (the authorities) are wiping their feet on us," said Elena, a student attending Saturday's protest.

Another attendee, Yevgeny Snetkov, a 61-year-old engineer, described as brazen the way the authorities had prevented opposition candidates from running. "I had no option left but to protest," he said.

Some protesters chanted "Putin is a thief" as they marched.

INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION

Observers said the police presence was one of the biggest at such a protest in nearly a decade. Mobile internet access was cut in some areas and police cordoned off swathes of central Moscow to stop people gathering.

At a similar protest a week earlier, police detained more than 1,300 in one of the biggest security operations of recent years that brought wide international condemnation.

Authorities carried out a new round of detentions and home searches before Saturday's protest and opened criminal proceedings for what they term mass civil unrest, an offence which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in jail.

Activists say the Russian constitution allows them to freely protest. But authorities say they need to agree the timing and location of any demonstrations in advance, something that was not done ahead of Saturday's protest.

Opposition activists say the authorities have repeatedly refused to allow protests in central Moscow, leaving them with no choice but to go ahead anyway.

At least eight of Sobol's allies, including Navalny, are in jail for breaking tough protest laws. The ruling United Russia dominates the national parliament and Navalny plus his allies are starved of media air-time.

Russian investigators said on Saturday they had opened a criminal investigation into the alleged laundering of 1 billion rubles ($15.3 million) by an anti-corruption foundation which Navalny set up. Navalny and his allies say the foundation is transparently financed from public donations.

President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin have not commented on the standoff with the opposition, but Moscow prosecutors on Friday warned would-be protesters that Saturday's demonstration had not been approved and its organizers could be brought to account.

At well over 60 percent, Putin's approval rating is still high compared with many other world leaders, but is lower than it used to be due to discontent over years of falling incomes.

Last year the 66-year-old former KGB intelligence officer won a landslide re-election and a new six-year term until 2024.

Russian police detain prominent opposition activist before protest
 

Related Articles

Yen weakens past key level, sterling pares gains
Yen weakens past key level, sterling pares gains By Reuters - Oct 03, 2022 1

By Rae Wee SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The yen breached the key level of 145 a dollar on Monday, for the first time in more than a week since Japan's intervention to prop up the...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email