Thousands took to Russia's streets chanting 'Putin is a thief' in new protests against Alexei Navalny's imprisonment

  • Protests against the imprisonment of Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, continue.
  • Russian police have now detained over 500 people this weekend, according to the OVD-info monitoring group.
  • Navalny spoke from his detention center in Moscow, telling supporters: “The majority are on our side. Let’s wake them up.” 
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Protests against the imprisonment of Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, are continuing nationwide for a second weekend.  

Russian police have now detained over 500 people, according to the OVD-info monitoring group, after more than 3,000 people were arrested across the country during the demonstrations last week. 

Thousands chanting “Putin is a thief,” reported the Guardian, rallied in Moscow. Authorities in the Russian capital said that centrally located shops, restaurants, and Metro stations would be shut down and overground transport diverted, according to the BBC. 

Similarly, police in St. Petersburg closed Nevsky Prospekt, the city’s main street, to deter people from gathering and protesting there, The Guardian added.

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Twitter users have been sharing videos of police officers using force against protesters. Moscow-based journalist Rosalba Castelletti tweeted a video and said: “A protester shot with a stun gun.” 

Another video posted by Hanna Liubakova, a journalist from Belarus, showed a fellow journalist being detained using a Tazer in St. Petersburg. Liubakova added: “This is unacceptable.”

During the protests, others arrested include the opposition leader’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, his brother, Oleg Navalny, and several aides, including Lyubov Sobol and his spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh. 

Many braved freezing temperatures to make their voices heard.

Matthew Luxmoore, the Moscow correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, shared a video with the caption: “In Vladivostok in the Far East, protesters gather on the ice of the frozen Amur Bay after police blocked off the city center.”

According to Al-Jazeera, Navalny spoke from the Matrosskaya Tishina detention center in Moscow on Thursday and told his supporters: “The majority are on our side. Let’s wake them up.” 

He was arrested on January 17 after flying back to Russia from Germany. He had spent the last five months recovering from a near-fatal nerve agent attack in August, Insider previously reported.

He was jailed for 30 days for violating the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence that he received for fraud charges, which the 44-year-old maintains are politically motivated. Navalny is one of Putin’s most outspoken critics and blamed the Kremlin attack, which has denied any involvement in the incident, Insider also noted.


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