Krem­lin foe de­tained ahead of rally

Crack­down on opposition politi­cian who in­spired grass­roots cam­paign

Truro Daily News - - WORLD - By Nataliya Vasi­lyeVa tHe aS­So­ci­ated preSS

moScoW

Po­lice took Rus­sian opposition leader Alexei Navalny into cus­tody in Moscow on Fri­day and de­tained his as­so­ciates in a city where he was head­ing for a rally.

Navalny posted a video on his In­sta­gram ac­count early Fri­day morn­ing of what he said were of­fi­cers out­side his home ask­ing him to come to a po­lice sta­tion. He tweeted from the po­lice sta­tion late in the af­ter­noon, say­ing that he was still held there with­out charges or any ex­pla­na­tion why he had been de­tained.

Navalny had planned to travel to the city of Nizhny Nov­gorod where he was to lead a rally later on Fri­day.

Af­ter he an­nounced his pres­i­den­tial bid last year, Navalny, a top Krem­lin foe and ar­guably Rus­sia’s most pop­u­lar opposition politi­cian, in­spired a grass­roots cam­paign in Rus­sian re­gions to sup­port his nom­i­na­tion. The crack­down comes af­ter he held ral­lies in six Rus­sian cities, from Mur­mansk in the north­west to Khabarovsk on the bor­der with China. Po­lice on Fri­day de­tained Rus­sian opposition leader Alexei Navalny ahead of a rally he was plan­ning to lead in Nizhny Nov­gorod.

The In­te­rior Min­istry said in a state­ment on Fri­day that Navalny was de­tained be­cause of his calls for un­sanc­tioned ral­lies. The rally in Nizhny Nov­gorod, how­ever, had re­ceived City Hall ap­proval.

Navalny’s sup­port­ers, in the

mean­time, re­ported that po­lice seized their equip­ment, which was al­ready in­stalled at a city square ahead of the rally. At least two of Navalny’s as­so­ciates in­clud­ing his cam­paign chief Leonid Volkov were taken in cus­tody in Nizhny Nov­gorod on Fri­day.

“The Krem­lin views my meet­ings with vot­ers as a huge threat and even an in­sult,” Navalny tweeted. “They were say­ing for so long that opposition has no sup­port in the re­gions, and it now pains them to even look at our ral­lies.”

He recorded and posted on­line a video from the po­lice sta­tion, call­ing on his sup­port­ers in Nizhny Nov­gorod to come to the rally even if he does not make it there.

The Krem­lin has dis­missed Navalny, who has faced re­peated jail­ings and crim­i­nal cases, as an ur­ban­ite out of touch with peo­ple liv­ing in Rus­sia’s 11 time zones where Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin draws his sup­port from. That be­gan to change ear­lier this year when Navalny opened cam­paign of­fices in 80 cities and towns, most of which had not seen a political life for decades, at­tract­ing thou­sands of sup­port­ers.

In Ger­many, Ul­rike Dem­mer, a spokes­woman for Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, told re­porters on Fri­day the govern­ment “views the ar­rests of ac­tivists in­clud­ing Navalny ... with in­com­pre­hen­sion and great con­cern.”

Ap pHoto

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.