Kremlin accuses opposition of provoking violence

March 27, 2017 9:21 pm


spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, attends a meeting between Russian President
Vladimir Putin and Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic at the
Kremlin in Moscow, , on March 27, 2017. (Photo by AP)

Russia has denounced as a
“provocation” the recent anti-corruption protests organized by
opposition leader Alexei Navalny in the country’s capital, Moscow, and
several other cities.

“Essentially what we saw yesterday
in several places — probably especially in Moscow — is a provocation
and a lie,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday.
Peskov
claimed that young demonstrators, who had taken to the streets a day
earlier to protest against corruption and demand the resignation of
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, had been “promised financial rewards in
the event of their detention by law enforcement agencies” during the
protests.

Riot police officers detain a protester during an anti-corruption rally in central Moscow on March 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Sunday’s demonstrations were held in more than 80 towns and cities across Russia.
Navalny
called for the demonstrations after publishing a detailed report
earlier this month accusing the Russian prime minister of controlling a
property empire through a shadowy network of non-profit organizations.
Police
detained at least 1,000 people, including Navalny, in Moscow and some
500 people in other cities across the country during the protests, which
had been declared as unauthorized by Russian officials. 
Navalny,
a lawyer turned critic and activist, who has announced his intention to
run for president in next year’s election, has been rallying supporters
in major Russian cities in recent weeks.

This
handout picture taken on March 26, 2017 shows police officers detaining
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny during an unauthorized anti-corruption
rally in central Moscow. (Photo by AFP)Also on
Monday, a district court in Moscow sentenced the Russian opposition
leader to 15 days behind bars for disobeying a police officer during the
demonstrations.
The court also fined Navalny 20,000 roubles ($352.20) for his role in organizing the protests.

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