Moscow, 24 January 2021 (dpa/MIA) – More than 3,400 people were detained when demonstrators took to the streets across Russia to demand the release of jailed dissident Alexei Navalny, civil rights activists said on Sunday.
Of those, at least 1,360 were detained at the largest of Saturday’s protests in the capital Moscow, activist portal OVD-Info said. Another 523 detentions were made in St Petersburg.
Russia‘s children’s rights commissioner said around 300 minors were among those taken into custody.
Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in 100 cities across the length and breadth of Russia on Saturday, from the far eastern city of Khabarovsk to Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast, for some of the largest demonstrations seen under President Vladimir Putin.
Navalny’s team spoke of a “grandiose all-Russian action” and has vowed to continue the protests.
Navalny’s team said 40,000 people joined the protest in Moscow, with police estimates for attendance of the unauthorized rally far lower.
Meanwhile, a video showing a police officer kicking a woman in St Petersburg prompted outrage on social networks.
According to media reports, the 54-year-old suffered a traumatic head injury. She is unconscious in hospital. Investigators said they would look into the case.
Navalny returned from receiving treatment in Germany last weekend following an assassination attempt with the nerve agent Novichok. The 44-year-old was sentenced to 30 days of pre-trial detention at a snap trial on Monday.
Navalny and his team have dismissed allegations of parole violations as a politically motivated attempt to silence him.
Navalny has blamed the chemical attack on Putin and the FSB intelligence service – charges which the Kremlin denies.