Moscow protest location changed, raising fear of arrests

Adjust Comment Print

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny takes part in a protest in Moscow on May 14, 2017, against the city's controversial plan to knock down Soviet-era apartment blocks and redevelop old neighborhoods.

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was detained today en route to a political protest in Moscow, his wife wrote on his Twitter account, posting a photo of him getting into a police auto.

The protest Monday was part of a day of demonstrations throughout Russian Federation spearheaded by Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who has emerged as Russia's most prominent opposition figure and who has announced he intends to run for president next year.

Some protesters however heeded his call to change locations. There was no immediate statement from police.

A live internet feed run from the opposition leader's office went offline and his spokeswoman said electricity to the office was cut.

The AP reported seeing about 50 protesters get arrested. He planned to attend the Moscow protest.

But Navalny said late on Sunday that the authorities had pressured firms into refusing to supply him and his allies with sound and video equipment, a move he said was created to humiliate protesters. Authorities had given permission for the rally, but Navalny late Sunday called for the location to change to one of Moscow's main avenues.


The General Prosecutor's Office warned that a protest there would be illegal and police would be forced to take "all necessary measures" to prevent disorder. Two large men stood nearby as Navalny spoke, insisting he will "say obvious banal things, but not be afraid and say them out loud".

On everyone's lips is the huge protest on Monday to demand an inquiry into corruption at the highest echelons of power.

Officials had set up barriers along Tverskaya Street, and were admitting members of the public only once they had passed through airport-style metal detectors.

Navalny has announced his candidacy for the presidential election in 2018.

A video he made accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a Putin ally, of living far beyond his means has garnered over 22 million online views to date. Navalny says the charges against him are politically motivated.

In the city of Tver on the Volga River, 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Moscow, Navalny met several hundred supporters.

The Moscow protest is due to run from 1100 to 1400 GMT (10.00 a.m. ET). "It's clear as day Putin doesn't want to come out to debate with me".

Comments