Protests against corruption sweep Russia, opposition leader Navalny arrested

27 March, 2017, 00:57 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Opposition leader arrested as Russians defy protest bans

The protests, which attracted crowds of hundreds or thousands in most sizeable Russian cities, were the largest coordinated outpourings of dissatisfaction in Russia since mass protests in 2011-2012.

Thousands of Russians took to the streets across the country Sunday to protest against corruption and demand the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in rallies called by opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Sunday's march in Moscow was one of the biggest unauthorised demonstrations in recent years, with police putting turnout at 7,000-8,000 people.

Navalny recently published a report alleging massive corruption by the Russian PM, detailing a vast empire of mansions, yachts and other luxuries obtained with corrupt money and means. In Moscow, a large number of policemen have been deployed in the streets and tens of protesters have been arrested.

Reuters noted on Sunday that Mr. Navalny had called for the protests to be held after publishing corruption allegations against Mr. Medvedev, claiming that the prime minister has amassed a huge fortune that far outstrips his official government salary.

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In St. Petersburg, about 5,000 protesters assembled in the Mars Field park, shouting slogans including "Putin resign!" and "Down with the thieves in the Kremlin!" "Our topic of the day is the fight against corruption", Navalny later posted on his Twitter account in Russian.

He intends to run for president in 2018 - an election in which Putin is widely expected to run for another term - even though the conviction technically disqualifies him.

In a tweet after his detention, he urged fellow protesters to continue with the demonstration.

There were no comments reported from Putin, Medvedev or other top Russian politicians, leaving in doubt what the Kremlin's strategy may be for countering the protests.

Local media in one far eastern city reported up to 40 arrests had been made there.

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