Russian Opposition Leader Reportedly Released From Police Custody
Russian Opposition Leader Reportedly Released From Police Custody
Image Russian President Vladimir Putin's swearing-in ceremony for a fourth Kremlin term takes place later
06 May, 2018, 22:26
Thousands of people on Saturday marked President Vladimir Putin's upcoming fourth inauguration with street protests across Russian Federation, defying a heavy police presence that detained more than 1,600 demonstrators.
Navalny, who was barred from challenging Putin in the March presidential election, had called on Russians to stage a day of rallies across the country under the catchy slogan "Not our Tsar".
Reuters reporters saw riot police systematically detaining other protesters in Moscow, some of them harshly, before bundling them into buses. Early Sunday morning in Moscow, Navalny tweeted that he had been released after being detained for organizing the unsanctioned protest and resisting the police.
The rallies were in protest of Putin's inauguration Monday. It also makes him Russia's longest-serving leader after Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's 29-year rule.
It is no doubt a citizen's constitutional right to protest but authorities in many countries reserve the right to authorise a demo or not.
"Detentions and arrests of more than 1,600 peaceful citizens is a further proof of fear of the regime and the shameful state policy of suppressing human rights and fundamental freedoms, attempts to stamp out any dissent in Russian Federation".
Image Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny addresses supporters during an anti Putin rally
However, European observers said there had been no real choice in the election, and complained of unfair pressure on critical voices. "He has been doing it for 18 years and has done nothing good for it", Moscow demonstrator Dmitry Nikitenko told the Associated Press.
Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International's deputy director for eastern Europe and central Asia, accused Russian police of failing to act while "people in Cossack uniforms" beat protesters.
According to Moscow Times, the latest protest is the first major one since January when Alexei Navalny, an opposition leader, had appealed for boycotting the March 18 elections after he was denied the right to contest because of a suspicious conviction which his supporters says was politically staged. Pro-Putin supporters also turned up, leading to scuffles between the two groups.
In Moscow alone, the number of detainees was 703, while 233 protesters were detained in St. Petersburg.
Numerous protesters were charged with the administrative violation of disobeying police and are being released pending hearings. Putin has now been in power as president or prime minister for more than two decades, which some see as a unsafe monopoly.
Backed by state TV and the ruling party, and credited with an approval rating of around 80 per cent, he is lauded by supporters as a father-of-the-nation figure who has restored national pride and expanded Moscow's global clout with interventions in Syria and Ukraine.
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