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Demonstrations against Russian corruption and clashes with police

22 Juin 2017

Organizers in more than 200 cities across Russian Federation had filed requests to hold demonstrations Monday, trying to revive a popular opposition that had been somnolent since a violent crackdown in 2011 and 2012.

Tens of thousands of people still took to the streets, and more than 1,500 were arrested. Because of this, Navalny's feed on You Tube has become a popular source for news for Russia's younger, web-savvy generation.

And the social-media team behind Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the founder of Open Russia, reported that a number of schools had threatened to expel students who attended the protests. Amnesty International also condemned the "alarming scenes" of detention and violence and called for their immediate release, the AFP reported.

An Associated Press reporter saw about 50 protesters seized by police in the gathering at Mars Field.

The demonstrators' decision to disrupt a large public event was an usually bold expression of dissent in Russian Federation, appearing to illustrate the emboldened attitude of those who have coalesced around Navalny's calls for protest.

Why was Alexey Navalny arrested?

Navalny is seeking to highlight alleged corruption within the Russian government, but he is also seeking to promote his bid to run against President Vladimir Putin in next year's presidential election.

He was arrested and jailed for disobeying a police officer during the March protests, which appeared to be a response to a long-form "investigation" that Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation posted on YouTube. Men, equipped with costume swords and shields, tried to defend their tents as the demonstrators were driven past them by police; most just sat glumly and watched the protest surge around them.

Hundreds were arrested, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was seized outside his Moscow residence while on his way to an unsanctioned rally in the city center.

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In Moscow, the detentions began even as demonstrators exited the metro station at Pushkin Square, a central square in the capital, and made their way toward Tverskaya.

Navalny had called the anti-corruption demonstrations, and they drew crowds of several dozen to the 10,000 in St. Petersburg. Navalny was picked up by police as he left his Moscow apartment.

On the eve of the event - which was authorised - Navalny announced the protest was changing location to Tverskaya because authorities blocked his efforts set up a stage and sound equipment.

Moscow authorities called it a "new provocation" on Navalny's part. He said interference had prevented contractors from building a stage at the agreed venue.

Around 900 people were arrested at protests Monday in Russia's capital and second city according to OVD - an independent group monitoring arrests.

As demonstrators were taken away, hundreds of others shouted slogans including "Putin is a thief" and "Shame!".

Navalny's wife wrote on Twitter half an hour before the scheduled protests: "Hello".

Demonstrations have already been happening across the rest of the country.

"I came here wrapped in a Russian flag and I'm afraid the police will arrest me", said Dmitry Umydov, 30. "The United States will monitor this situation, and we call on the government of Russian Federation to immediately release all peaceful protesters". However, the lawyer noted that he does not expect the Moscow City Court's decision to be positive for his client.