Russia: Hundreds Detained in Opposition-led Protest

Cheryl Sanders
June 14, 2017

White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said that the United States condemned Russian Federation for arresting peaceful protesters. "The United States will monitor this situation, and we call on the government of Russian Federation to immediately release all peaceful protesters".

Russian liberal opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny attends hearing at the Lyublinsky district court in Moscow, Russia, 30 May 2017.

Hundreds of people were arrested Monday in protests across Russian Federation. "Dear government let's eradicate corruption", said one demonstrator. In St Petersburg, dozens were reported detained by police at the protest.

Navalny, who was also arrested for organizing large anti-Putin protests in March, had called for national demonstrations on the holiday that marks Russia's formal emergence from the Soviet era in 1990. Similar crowds turned out March 26, rattling officials who had perceived the younger generation as largely apolitical.

Putin is expected to seek another term in 2018, and Navalny has announced his intentions to run.

Demonstrators in Monday's opposition protests across Russian Federation say they are fed up with endemic corruption among officials.

"That's why so many people came out today to the demonstration across the country and here in St. Petersburg despite police and weather" - summed up the CNN correspondent on the background of the empty square in the Northern capital.

As of early evening, almost 700 people had been detained in Moscow and as many as 900 in St Petersburg, according to rights groups.

From images that we're seeing, many young people were among the protesters - and many were detained.

According to reports, police detained over 200 people during Monday's anti-corruption rallies.

About 1,000 people had gathered Monday in the city's Mars Field park for a protest that was part of a nationwide wave of demonstrations called for by Alexei Navalny, Russia's most prominent opposition figure.

Navalny, who plans to stand against Putin in presidential elections in March, appeared before a judge Monday evening.

Pretext for his arrest has been a call to move the rally in Moscow to an unsanctioned location.

A Moscow court, sitting late Monday, sentenced Navalny after finding him guilty of violating law regarding holding rallies.

On his blog last week, he wrote: "I want changes".

Reuters witnesses saw a police auto leaving Mr Navalny's apartment compound at high speed, followed a few minutes later by a minibus carrying around 10 policemen.

We watched as the riot police pushed the protestors back - while snatch squads dove into the crowd to grab the organisers.

Twenty minutes later people were dragged along the ground or carried through the air, as the police snatched them out of the crowd even though people tightly surrounded those whom the police were trying to detain.

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

Although it was not immediately clear if Monday's protests were larger than those in March, they underlined the deep dismay with the government.

An integral part of the agitation has been the presence of rubber ducks, sneakers and green faces that the demonstrators use to show their support to the movement. After opposition activist Ilya Yashin, 33, was detained and put in a police bus, he tweeted an image from inside, showing himself with a half-dozen youths in Moscow.

A young demonstrator is arrested by riot police during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, the Russian capital.

He said contractors hired to build a stage at the agreed venue could not do their work after apparently coming under official pressure.

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