3,000 Arrested Including Alexei Navalny's Wife At 'Free Navalny' Protests Across Russia

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3,000 Arrested Including Alexei Navalny's Wife At 'Free Navalny' Protests Across Russia

Over 3,000 people have been arrested and detained in Russia following protests demanding the release of Alexei Navalny who is currently jailed in Moscow. Navalny, who is highly critical of the Russian government under Vladimir Putin, was arrested following his return to Russia from Germany.

Tens-of-thousands of people are believed to have attended the rallies held in many cities and towns across Russia. These are the biggest anti-Putin demonstrations for a number of years. As many as 40,000 people attended the rally in Moscow, the Russian capital. Video showed riot police rushing into the crowd and seizing individuals, many were then placed into waiting police vans.

Among those detained was Alexi Navalny's wife, Yulia, whose capture was recorded on video. She was later released after being briefly held by authorities. Several of Navalny's aides were arrested earlier in the week.

Alexei Navalny, who is perhaps the most prominent critic of Putin in Russia, returned to the country after spending months in a German hospital receiving treatment for what authorities say was an attempted poisoning using a nerve-agent. Navalny and his supporters claim that this poisoning was carried out by the Russian state, an accusation that Russia has firmly denied.

Some protestors spoke to foreign reporters at the scene.

Sergei Radchenko, a 53-year-old protester in Moscow, told Reuters news agency:

"I'm tired of being afraid. I haven't just turned up for myself and Navalny, but for my son because there is no future in this country."

There were also reports that social-media services and messaging apps had been blocked ahead of and during the protests.

Josep Borrell, of the EU released a statement in which it said the EU strongly opposed the use of force against protestors in Russia. He said:

"I deplore widespread detentions, disproportionate use of force, cutting down internet and phone connections."

Mr. Navalny has come under criticism himself in recent years for comments some deem racist and ultra-nationalistic. For instance, he used a derogatory term against Georgians during the Russia-Georgia conflict of 2008, a war he supported. He has also participated in the annual 'Russian March', a gathering of nationalists that includes neo-Nazis and other fascist organisations. Navalny has also called on Russia to 'stop feeding the Caucuses', a southern area of Russia made up predominantly of ethnic minorities.

Some have stated that his racially charged and nationalist statements may have made him a greater threat to Putin as, unlike the more liberal opposition within Russia, Navalny can't so easily be portrayed as a stooge of the Western powers.

Supporters of Navalny have called for further demonstrations in the weeks and months ahead. While Navalny is currently only held in prison for 30 days, many fear that he could face more serious charges in time.

h/t: BBC

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Thinking Humanity: 3,000 Arrested Including Alexei Navalny's Wife At 'Free Navalny' Protests Across Russia
3,000 Arrested Including Alexei Navalny's Wife At 'Free Navalny' Protests Across Russia
Over 3,000 people have been arrested and detained in Russia following protests demanding the release of Alexei Navalny who is currently jailed in Russ
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