1,400 Alexei Navalny protesters are detained in Russia

The fight for Navalny begins: 1,400 protesters are detained after answering Kremlin critic’s rallying call to take to the streets after he was jailed for 2½ years

  • 1,408 people were arrested, mainly in Moscow and St Petersburg, during pro-Navalny protests on Tuesday 
  • Navalny is set to serve around two and a half years in prison for violating parole linked to a 2014 conviction
  •  In a courtroom speech he said Russian leader Vladimir Putin was trying to silence opposition supporters 

More than 1,400 protesters have been arrested in Russia amid battles in the streets of Moscow after the Kremlin’s most prominent critic Alexei Navalny was jailed for two and a half years. 

Hundreds were rounded up in Moscow and St Petersburg on Tuesday as riot police faced off against Navalny’s supporters – who have taken to the streets across Russia over the last two weekends to demand his release. 

As protesters shouted ‘Putin is a poisoner!’ and ‘Putin is a thief’, riot police hit demonstrators with batons and chased them through the streets with 1,408 detained in total, according to a monitoring group.  

In a fiery courtroom speech, Navalny himself had accused Vladimir Putin of trying to intimidate his critics and said the court was ‘putting one person behind bars to scare millions’. 

The 44-year-old is set to serve around two years and eight months in prison after a suspended sentence for a 2014 embezzlement conviction was upgraded to real jail time. 

Russian authorities accused him of flouting the terms of his parole, but Navalny said he could hardly have made his appointments while recovering from the Novichok attack last summer which he blames on the Kremlin.  

The verdict sparked Western outrage, with US secretary of state Antony Blinken warning that the Biden White House would ‘hold Russia accountable’ – but Moscow, typically, accused the West of interfering in its own affairs.  

Battle in Moscow: A Navalny supporter is dragged away by Russian police officers wearing riot gear during protests in the capital on the day the the opposition leader was handed a two-and-a-half-year jail term 

Riot police take a protester in a headlock during what authorities described as an unauthorised rally in Moscow on Tuesday 

A protester is detained in front of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow during rallies in support of the jailed Kremlin critic yesterday

Protesters line up against a wall, watched by a riot police officer, during an unsanctioned rally after Navalny’s court hearing 

Navalny, pictured in the dock on Tuesday, was jailed for violating the terms of his parole – which he says is absurd since he was recuperating in Germany from a nerve agent attack and could hardly have made an appointment with Russian officials 

As his sentence was read, Navalny made a heart sign with his hands and smiled at his wife Yulia from behind the glass panel of his holding cell. 

He told Yulia, who had travelled back from Germany with him last month and was crying as the verdict was read out: ‘Don’t be sad, everything will be fine’. 

Navalny, who was arrested at a Moscow border post on his return to Russia, was on trial for breaking the terms of a 2014 embezzlement conviction, for which he received a three-and-a-half year suspended sentence. 

The Moscow court today ordered Navalny serve his original sentence in a penal colony, minus the one year he already spent under house arrest. 

Navalny says the 2014 fraud conviction was based on trumped-up charges, while the European Court of Human Rights has also voiced concerns about the verdict. 

His brother, wife and other allies have also been arrested and some of them fined by Russian courts in recent days in a crackdown on the opposition movement.  

His legal team plan to appeal the latest verdict, his lawyer Olga Mikhailov said, with Navalny expected to stay in detention in Moscow during that process. 

Navalny and his lawyers have argued that while he was recovering in Germany from the poisoning, he could not register with Russian authorities in person as required by his probation. 

‘I came back to Moscow after I completed the course of treatment,’ Navalny said during Tuesday’s hearing. ‘What else could I have done?’ 

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny makes a heart sign as his prison term is handed down by a Moscow court today 

Policemen detain a protester after allies of Alexei Navalny called for supporters to protest a Moscow court’s decision to sentence him to two-and-a-half years in prison

A woman is dragged to jail after attending a protest demanding the release of imprisoned pro-democracy opposition leader Alexei Navalny

A woman is dragged away by Russian police during nationwide protests, called for by now-imprisoned pro-democracy opposition leader Alexei Navalny 

A man is lifted away by Russian police during protests in Moscow today, following the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny 

An injured protester cries out during protests against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow today 

Riot police officers detain a man during a protest against a court ruling which ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny be jailed for nearly three years, in downtown Moscow in the early hours of this morning 

Officers scramble to detain protesters during a demonstration against the two-and-a-half year jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow yesterday 

Protesters run during demonstrations against the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in Moscow yesterday 

A Navalny supporter is escorted away from protests outside the Great Hostiny Dvor Shopping Centre in downtown St Petersburg last night 

As Navalny faced his first night in prison, UK prime minister Boris Johnson joined a chorus of world leaders calling for the Kremlin critic’s release. 

‘Alexey Navalny’s decision to return to Russia after being poisoned was a truly brave and selfless act. In contrast, today’s ruling was pure cowardice and fails to meet the most basic standards of justice. Alexey Navalny must be released immediately,’ the PM said. 

French president Emmanuel Macron also called for his release, while German chancellor Angela Merkel labelled the decision ‘far removed from any rule of law’.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, due to visit Moscow later this week, said it ‘runs counter to Russia’s international commitments on rule of law and fundamental freedoms’.  

Dmitry Polyanksiy, Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, responded to the criticism from Washington by referring to the recent political troubles in the US. 

‘A Russian citizen sentenced by Russian court in accordance with Russian laws. Who gave US the right to judge if it was wrongful or not? Wouldn’t you mind your own business, gentlemen? Recent events show that there are a lot of things for you to mend,’ he said. 

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the Western reaction as ‘disconnected from reality’, adding: ‘There is no need to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.’  

A man shouts as a police officer detains him during protests against the jailing of Putin foe Alexei Navalny in Moscow yesterday 

A man scraps with police officers during a street gathering to protest the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in Moscow yesterday 

Riot police officers drag a man down a set of steps during an unauthorised rally in support of Alexei Navalny tonight in Moscow 

Riot officers detain a man during demonstrations in support of Alexei Navalny, following his imprisonment of two-and-a-half years 

Protesters detained following a protest demanding the release of Alexei Navalny await their jailing in Moscow this morning 

Navalny supporters are detained last night following Navalny being jailed for two-and-a-half years by a Moscow court

Russian police drag a Navalny supporter in downtown Moscow this evening

Russian police detain a man in downtown Moscow this evening after the Kremlin critic was sent to prison earlier today 

Detained people are seen inside a police vehicle in downtown Moscow this evening 

Police escort a man from the scene of protests in downtown Moscow earlier this evening

Russian reinforced police units stand guard on the street in downtown of St. Petersburg, Russia today

Officers detain a man during protests after the imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow today 

A man draped in a Russian flag walks among protesters demonstrating the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow today 

Riot police officers guard Bolshaya Morskaya Street in St Petersburg today. The city authorities tightened security measures as Moscow’s court sentenced Alexei Navalny to three-and-a-half years 

Russian police drag a protester away in St Petersburg, Russia today. Protesters descended on Russian cities after dissident Alexei Navalny was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in a penal colony

A man scraps with police officers during protests against the jailing of Kremlin critic 

A riot police officer searches a man during protests against the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in Moscow yesterday 

Police pull a man’s jacket over his head as they lead him away from the scene of a protest outside a St Petersburg shopping centre last night 

Earlier, Navalny mocked Putin by giving him the nickname ‘Vladimir the Poisoner of Underwear’ and told a judge his trial is only taking place because the Russian leader had failed to kill him with Novichok.  

Navalny told the Russian courthouse that Putin is ‘demanding to steal underwear from opponents and smear them with chemical weapons’, referring to the claim that FSB agents sprinkled the nerve agent on his clothes. 

He also said Putin wanted him imprisoned to ‘scare millions’ and warned the President that ‘people will realise’ that he ‘can’t jail everyone’. 

‘We know why this is happening,’ he said. ‘The reason is the hatred and fear of one man in a bunker. Because I offended him by surviving after they tried to kill me on his orders.

‘No matter how much [Putin] tries to pose as a geopolitician, his main resentment toward me is that he will go down in history as a poisoner.’  

Two days after Navalny  was placed in pre-trial custody last month, his team released an investigation into an opulent seaside property which he claims was given to Putin through a billion-dollar scheme financed by close associates who head state companies.

The probe was published alongside a YouTube video report, now viewed more than 100million times.

Putin denied owning the property. Last week a billionaire businessman close to the Russian leader, Arkady Rotenberg, said he was the owner and was turning it into a hotel.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets the past two weekends to demand Navalny’s release and chant slogans against Putin. 

On Sunday, police detained more than 5,750 people nationwide, which was the biggest one-day total in Russia since Soviet times. 

Most were released after being handed a court summons, and they face fines or jail terms of seven to 15 days, although several face criminal charges of violence against police. 

Riot police detain a man involved in unauthorised protests in central Moscow last night 

A man is detained by riot police in Russia today as protesters gathered to demand the release of jailed dissident Alexei Navalny 

Navalny supporters, and their dogs, are escorted away from the scene of a protest in downtown St Petersburg tonight 

Russian riot police detain a participant of an unauthorised rally in central Moscow tonight 

Russian riot police detain a Navalny supporter after the dissident called for protests against his three-and-a-half year imprisonment 

Russian police detain a protester in central Moscow this evening 

Source: Read Full Article