More Than 5000 People Have Been Arrested In A New Round Of Navani Liberation Protests In Russia
2021-01-31 | by CusiGO
Neither the unprecedented police deployment in Russia’s modern history nor the threat of the authorities have been able to curb the new round of demonstrations in support of Alexei navani. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in more than 100 Russian cities for the second weekend in a row on Sunday. In a new challenge to the Kremlin, they called for the release of Russia’s main opponent, who was detained before trial, awaiting trial, which could mean a long prison sentence in a criminal colony. The government cracked down on the demonstrations and responded with great force: encircling the center of major cities, closing subway stations, and a large number of police and riot personnel, wearing helmets, shields and batons. According to the statistics of ovd-info, a special organization, more than 5100 protestors have been detained nationwide, and these protests have been banned.
Alexei navani this week called on his followers to keep up the pressure and continue to take to the streets. His main collaborators were under house arrest and solitary confinement. This Sunday’s protests were slightly lower than last weekend’s, resulting in more than 4600 detainees, considered the largest in the past decade; but most importantly, this Sunday’s protests were more fragmented and difficult to measure. The widespread crackdown on the protests across the country has led to images of peaceful protestors being violently arrested.
The Russian government, which characterized the navani freedom movement as illegal and ensured that it was externally driven, threatened that its participants would be sentenced to imprisonment. On Sunday, in a separate decree aimed at invalidating it, telecom regulators threatened to fine and prevent media and social media from publishing “exaggerated figures” of demonstrations.
In Moscow, at dawn, the central nuclear power was shut down, 10 subway stations were blocked, several bus routes were changed, and Roman matviev and his girlfriend Ksenia tried to reach the famous Piazza rubianka hours before the meeting. There is the headquarters of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor of the KGB, who, according to a news investigation, was behind the poisoning of navani in Siberia last August: a military neurotoxin attack made by the former Soviet Union made him unconscious. It’s almost impossible to get close to the meeting place. “They don’t even bother to cover up that we live under a dictatorship,” said Matveev, a 38 year old biologist. “You have to understand that we’ve had enough. “We will continue to protest,” said Ksenia. “With armored City, more people are needed on the streets for us to hear,” admitted the 36 year old doctor, who was reluctant to give her last name.
Members of navarni’s team, who are still being released or leaving the country, are calling for a new mobilization on Tuesday, when the opposition will be arrested when it returns to Russia from Berlin on January 17 for violating probation terms in Germany He was in a coma due to poisoning and was hospitalized. This Sunday’s protest and next week’s mobilization will test the endurance of the protest movement, which links the anger of the navani case with the anger and discontent of citizens tired of economic crisis, corruption and inequality.
Protestors and police play cat and mouse all day in the Russian capital. In order to avoid the huge riot bars and police fences, citizens have reorganized through social media and made alternative appeals. They succeeded in breaking the siege and approaching the opponents, who have been held in matrosskaya tishina prison since 18 January. There, thousands of people gathered against the security forces. Chanting “freedom for navani,” “Putin, thief,” or “Moscow, go to the street,” they walked along the snow covered sidewalks, trying to bypass riot vehicles that seemed to take people away at random. As they passed, many cars honked to encourage them. In Moscow alone, police arrested about 1650 people, including the opposition’s wife, Yulia NAV á lnaya, who was transferred to a police station in the suburbs, in sharp contrast to the 2000 people the authorities claimed to be involved in the capital’s protests.
In St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city after Moscow, demonstrations were also very frequent. Police conducted a thorough investigation there and suppressed several peaceful protestors with tear gas and stun guns. In Kashan, riot forces forced a group of people to lie in the snow, to be immobilized, waiting to be arrested. In the Far East port city of Vladivostok, where there were fewer demonstrations than last week, police have besieged them in the frozen Gulf of Amur. In Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, riot guards blocked the passage of protestors with snow, forming a temporary roadblock. Nevertheless, in some places, the temperature is close to minus 30 degrees Celsius, and hundreds of people are still marching this Sunday. In several cities, police videotaped the protestors. It’s a tool to identify them afterwards and a way to deter protests.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating is at an all-time low (according to the latest data from the Levada center, 60% is far from the western standard), and he is confident that he will use his tough hand to suppress this new wave of discontent as before. The Kremlin is worried about the legislative election in September next year. It has enacted a whole set of new laws to increase the punishment for illegal protests, making it more difficult to demonstrate and participate in the election.
Neither the Western condemnation of the crackdown on peaceful demonstrations nor the dialogue between Putin and US President Biden made the Kremlin yield. In fact, on Sunday, Moscow again accused the United States of interfering in its internal affairs because the U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued messages to its citizens about protest routes as a warning to transit. The Russian government believes that the communique announces and encourages demonstrations. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s top foreign policy representative, is due to visit Russia this week, which has not eased the police crackdown.