Russia opposition's Navalny held at protest at new Putin term

Russia opposition's Navalny held at protest at new Putin term

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rival demonstrations are taking place at Moscow's Pushkin Square

Opposition demonstrations are being held across Russia on the eve of Vladimir Putin's inauguration for a fourth term as president.

Alexei Navalny, who was prevented from standing in the election in March, is organising the protests but was arrested as soon as he arrived for the Moscow rally.

Dozen of people have been arrested at demonstrations across the country.

The Moscow and St Petersburg protests were not approved by the authorities.

Crowds gathered on Moscow's Pushkin Square shouting slogans such as "Down with the Tsar!" and "Russia without Putin".

But activists from the pro-Kremlin National Liberation Movement are staging a rival rally at the same location.

Mr Navalny was seen arriving for the demonstration, but reports of his arrest followed almost immediately.

Reports say he had been forced to stay at a secret location on Friday night in order to make it to the rally at all.

Mr Putin was re-elected president with more than 76%, his best ever election performance.

But the opposition and some international observers reported widespread irregularities in the vote.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Navalny reportedly stayed at a secret location ahead of Saturday's protest

Mr Navalny was barred from running for office because of a conviction for embezzlement. He says his legal troubles are Kremlin reprisals for his fierce criticism.

The protests are being held under the slogan "He is not our Tsar!"

The Moscow city authorities have warned people of possible "negative consequences" of taking part in unsanctioned rallies.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Navalny reportedly stayed at a secret location ahead of Saturday's protest

"And I would like to warn everyone of the negative consequences of non-participation in the rallies," Mr Navalny responded in a tweet (in Russian).

"If you stay at home, Putin's gang will tear the country apart and deprive you personally of a future."

Opposition groups and independent monitors OVD-Info also reported arrests in the cities of Krasnoyarsk, Novokuznetsk, Chelyabinsk, Barnaul and Samara. One report said as many as 150 people were arrested in Krasnoyarsk.

There are fears that protests could lead to clashes similar to those that happened in 2012, when Mr Putin returned to the presidency after four years as prime minister.


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Source link : http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44014762
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Publish date : 2018-05-05 12:04:29
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