Moscow protest location changed, raising fear of arrests

Andrew Cummings
June 12, 2017

Moscow officials originally granted Mr Navalny, 40, and his supporters permission for a "We Demand Answers" rally on Sakharov Avenue in the north of the city.

Kira Yarmysh tweeted the information shortly after Navalny was reportedly arrested outside his Moscow home while on his way to an unsanctioned protest demonstration.

Photographs show the street blocked by trucks placed by the authorities.

Rallies have been planned in 169 different locations for Russia Day, a national holiday, on Monday (12 June).

More than 1,000 protesters were arrested at a rally on March 26.

Reuters witnesses saw a police vehicle leaving Navalny's apartment compound at high speed, followed a few minutes later by a minibus carrying around 10 policemen. He said the authorities had prevented him from renting sound equipment needed for a sanctioned rally in a separate location.

In a call for people to join him today, he wrote: "I want changes.

The move sets up a possible violent crackdown by Moscow police, which had warned earlier about possible "provocations" during the protests. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for the protest to be moved to Tverskaya street, one of Moscow's main thoroughfares, prompting a massive police presence.

A day before the planned June 12 protests, a video produced by Navalny and his supporters accusing Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption was published on two government websites.

Mr Navalny earlier called on supporters to attend anti-corruption rallies across Russian Federation.

Navalny is trying to get on the ballot for the March 2018 presidential election, in which Putin is widely expected to seek and secure a fourth term as president.

For now, polls suggest Navalny has scant chance of unseating Putin, who enjoys high ratings.

But the 41-year-old lawyer turned political street campaigner hopes anger over corruption may boost his support. "I want to live in a modern democratic state and I want our taxes to be converted into roads, schools and hospitals, not into yachts, palaces and vineyards".

Navalny, who had a green liquid thrown in his face in April, robbing him of some of his sight, said hundreds of people had attended demonstrations in Russia's Far East on Monday morning.

Other reports by iNewsToday