Dozens detained in anti-corruption protests across Russia

March 26, 2017 2:38 pm

Several dozen people were detained in protests across
on Sunday, after the opposition urged people to take to the streets to
demonstrate against corruption and demand the resignation of Prime
Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Russian opposition leader
Alexei Navalny said on his website that more than 80 towns and cities
across Russia would hold protests on Sunday and that authorities had not
sanctioned the majority of the rallies.
The Kremlin said on Friday that plans to hold a protest in the center of Moscow were an illegal provocation.
Authorities
in most cities, including Moscow, refused to authorize the rallies. By
midday (0900 GMT) there was a heavy police presence in the capital along
the planned route of the protest, scheduled for 2:00 pm.

Police detain a protester in downtown Moscow, Russia, Sunday, March 26, 2017. (AP Photo)Navalny
called the demonstrations after publishing a detailed report this month
accusing Medvedev of controlling a property empire through a shadowy
network of non-profit organizations. The report has been viewed over 11
million times on YouTube but Medvedev has so far given no reaction to
it.
The Kremlin critic, who has announced his intention to run for
president in next year’s elections, has been rallying supporters in
major Russian cities in recent weeks.
In the far eastern city of
Vladivostok, a Reuters’ reporter saw the detention of at least 30
protesters at an unsanctioned rally drawing hundreds of young people to a
square near the city’s railway station.

Russian
riot police officers get ready to take positions during an unauthorized
anti-corruption rally in central Moscow on March 26, 2017. (Photo by
AFP)The detentions started after protesters
unfurled banners reading “Corruption steals our future” and “The prime
minister should answer”.
The protesters then marched to a local police station to demand that police free those who had been detained.
Hundreds also rallied in the city of Yekaterinburg in the industrial Urals region.
Witnesses
said at least four people holding banners were detained on the city’s
Labour Square, where opposition protesters, nationalists and supporters
of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party gathered.

Police detain a protester in downtown Moscow, Russia, Sunday, March 26, 2017. (AP Photo)Police said 500 to 700 people had gathered on Labour Square but did not confirm that there had been any detentions.
“Corruption
affects every person. The fight against corruption can unite all people
irrespective of their convictions,” 20-year-old student Ivan told
Reuters, asking that his last name not be published.
The Russian
constitution allows public gatherings but recent laws have criminalized
protests unauthorized by city authorities, who frequently refuse to
grant permission for rallies by Kremlin critics.
Local media estimated about 1,500 people turned out in each of the Siberian cities of Krasnoyarsk and Omsk.
In most places authorities had not authorized the rallies, and some of those who turned up to protest were detained by police.
Authorities had also pressured students not to attend, and some cities even scheduled exams on a Sunday, according to reports.

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