Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More than 4,800 held as Russian police clamp down on protests



More than 4,800 held as Russian police clamp down on protests

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Protesters oppose riot police during a rally in support of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Saint Petersburg on Sunday. AFP

More than 4,800 held as Russian police clamp down on protests

Police detained more than 4,800 people across Russia and blocked off the centre of Moscow on January 31 in a massive clampdown on protests demanding the release of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Thousands of protesters defied government warnings to rally from Vladivostok to Saint Petersburg in a second weekend of mass demonstrations over the arrest of President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent.

Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport in mid-January after flying back to Russia from Germany where he was recovering from an August poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.

The 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner is being held in a Moscow detention centre and faces years of potential jail time in several different criminal cases, despite calls from Western governments for his release.

In moves not seen for years in Moscow, authorities locked down the centre of the capital on January 31, with hundreds of police lining the streets, central Metro stations closed and restrictions on the movements of pedestrians.

Protesters who had hoped to gather outside the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB) were instead scattered to various parts of the city as organisers made last-minute changes in locations.

AFP journalists saw dozens of protesters detained and taken into police vans.

Several thousand were seen marching throughout the city centre, but it was unclear amid the chaos how many people took part in the demonstration.

Independent monitor OVD-Info said at least 4,818 people had been detained across the country, after reporting more than 4,000 detentions during similar protests on January 23.

It said at least 1,365 were detained in Moscow and 962 in Saint Petersburg, as well as 82 journalists across the country.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Twitter condemned “the persistent use of harsh tactics against peaceful protesters and journalists by Russian authorities for a second week straight”.

The Russian foreign ministry hit back, accusing the US of “gross interference” in its affairs and of using “online platforms controlled by Washington” to promote the protests.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also said he deplored the “widespread detentions and disproportionate use of force” against protesters and journalists.

“Russia needs to comply with its international commitments,” he added in a tweet.

Protesters chanted “Freedom!” and “Putin is a thief!” as they marched through Moscow, braving bitter cold and snow.

Several hundred protesters eventually gathered outside the Matrosskaya Tishina prison where Navalny is being held. Dozens were detained outside the complex.

“It’s almost embarrassing that the state is so afraid of us,” 31-year-old protester Elisaveta Dementieva said at the Moscow demonstration.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished