07:58 GMT08 March 2021
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    Both the vlogger and his allies have been calling for people to join the rallies in several Russian cities on Saturday. The police warned that the public actions are not authorised and reminded about coronavirus-related restrictions on public gatherings.

    The number of people arrested at unauthorised protests across Russia is on the rise this Saturday as scuffles break out between demonstrators and the police in major cities.

    Protests began early on Saturday in the Far Eastern cities of Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, and unfolded west as the day progressed, with scores of Russians responding to jailed activist Alexey Navalny’s call to take to the streets.

    Navalny was detained in Moscow this past Sunday upon his arrival from Germany, where he had undergone months of treatment after allegedly being poisoned with a nerve agent. The vlogger was subsequently placed in custody for 30 days for violating his probation terms for an earlier embezzlement conviction.

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    • 17:33

      EU Foreign Policy Chief Says Concerned About Navalny-Linked Events in Russia

      EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed concern about violent demonstrations in Russia in support of opposition activist Alexey Navalny.

      "Following unfolding events in #Russia with concern. I deplore widespread detentions, disproportionate use of force, cutting down internet and phone connections," Borrell said on Twitter.

      The official recalled that on Monday the council of EU foreign ministers will discuss "next steps" toward Russia.

      A number of Western states have previously issued statements calling to free Navalny, while the Russian Foreign Ministry recommended them to avoid interfering in Russia's domestic affairs.

      On Saturday, many Russian cities were hit by mass protests in support of opposition figure Alexey Navalny, who was detained in Moscow this past Sunday upon his arrival from Germany, where he had undergone months of treatment after being allegedly poisoned with a nerve agent. The blogger was subsequently placed in custody for 30 days for violating his probation terms for an earlier embezzlement conviction.

      Dozens of people, both protesters and law enforcement officers, were injured during the demonstrations in Moscow. The police have also detained dozens of protesters.

    • 16:48

      Police Detain 2,131 People at Opposition Rallies Across Russia, OVD-Info Group Says

    • 15:34

      Navalny's Wife Yulia Released From Police Department, Source Says

    • 15:30

      Russian Foreign Ministry Disputes Reuters Estimate of Moscow Protest Turnout

      The Russian Foreign Ministry has suggested that Reuters gave a grossly exaggerated estimate of turnout at a protest in Moscow on Saturday.

      "Reuters estimates that at least 40,000 people gathered in central Moscow for a protest. Why not 4 million?" the ministry wrote on Facebook.

      The police said earlier that some 4,000 people showed up at Pushkinskaya Square, about a mile away from the Kremlin, to protest the arrest of opposition activist Alexey Navalny. The crowd clashed with the riot police and was dispersed in the late afternoon.

    • 14:41

      UK Concerned by Detention of Peaceful Protesters in Russia, Statement Reads

      The UK is concerned by the detention of peaceful protesters in Russia, urges the Russian government to respect international human rights commitments, a statement by the UK Foreign Ministry says.

      "We are deeply concerned by the detention of peaceful protesters and continue to monitor the situation closely...We urge the Russian government to respect and comply with its international commitments on human rights, and release citizens detained during peaceful demonstrations," the British foreign ministry's statement says.

       

    • 14:29

      US Embassy in Moscow Says Monitors Reports of Protests Across Russia

      The US embassy in Moscow said on Saturday that diplomats are monitoring ongoing demonstrations in major Russian cities.

      On Saturday, many Russian cities were hit by mass protests in support of opposition figure Alexey Navalny, who was detained in Moscow this past Sunday upon his arrival from Germany, where he had undergone months of treatment after being allegedly poisoned with a nerve agent. The blogger was subsequently placed in custody for 30 days for violating his probation terms for an earlier embezzlement conviction.

      "We are monitoring reports of protests in 38 Russian cities … The United States supports the right of all people to peaceful protests, freedom of expression. The measures taken by the Russian authorities are aimed at suppressing these rights," the embassy tweeted.

      On Friday, the US embassy in Russia published an alert statement about the opposition demonstrations across Russia in support of Navalny. The embassy mentioned routes of the anticipated rallies and urged US nationals to avoid these locations.

      The Russian Foreign Ministry said that such publications will be viewed as rude foreign interference in Russia's domestic affairs and there will be a relevant reaction. The ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that US diplomats will be summoned to the ministry following a publication of opposition protest maps.

    • 14:21

      Sputnik Correspondent Injured While Covering Protest in Central Moscow

      A Sputnik correspondent was injured on Saturday while covering an opposition protest in support of Alexey Navalny in central Moscow.

      The correspondent got hit in the face with a baton when police was dispersing the crowd in Pushkinskaya Square.

      On Saturday, many Russian cities were hit by mass protests in support of opposition figure Alexey Navalny, who was detained in Moscow this past Sunday upon his arrival from Germany, where he had undergone months of treatment after being allegedly poisoned with a nerve agent. The blogger was subsequently placed in custody for 30 days for violating his probation terms for an earlier embezzlement conviction.

    • 14:19

      At Least 20 People With Confirmed COVID-19 Infection Attended Unauthorised Rally in Moscow, City Officials Say

    • 14:05

      Russian Foreign Ministry Urges US Embassy to Refrain From Meddling by Making Statements on Ongoing Protests

    • 13:51

      US Diplomats to be Summoned to Russian Foreign Ministry Over Publication of Moscow Protest Maps

      Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that US diplomats will be summoned to the ministry following a publication of opposition protest maps.

      "The US colleagues will have to explain this at Smolenskaya Square [the location of the Russian Foreign Ministry]," Zakharova said.

      On Friday, the US embassy in Russia published an alert statement about the opposition demonstrations across Russia in support of Alexey Navalny. The embassy mentioned routes of the anticipated rallies and urged US nationals to avoid these locations. The embassy noted that in Moscow, "demonstrators plan to gather near Pushkin Square at approximately 1400 and march towards the Kremlin."

      The Russian Foreign Ministry said that such publications will be viewed as rude foreign interference in Russia's domestic affairs and there will be a relevant reaction.

      "What was it - a recommendation or an instruction? Even the organizers [of protests] did not announce such plans. One can imagine what could happen if the Russian embassy in Washington published a map of protest routes indicating Capitol Hill would be the final point. Such orientation on the ground would result in a global hysteria of US politicians, including anti-Russian slogans, threats of sanctions and the expulsion of Russian diplomats," Zakharova stressed.

      Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry called on US diplomats in Moscow to deal with their own problems and not interfere in the internal affairs of other states.

      Nationwide protests in Russia were called after jailed opposition activist Alexey Navalny was detained last Sunday upon arrival from Germany, where he was treated for his alleged poisoning. The 44-year-old was placed in custody for 30 days for violating probation terms on an earlier embezzlement conviction.

    • 13:15

      Several Protesters Left Bloodied After Scuffles With Police in Moscow

      Scuffles between riot police and protesters at unauthorised demonstrations in central Moscow have led to several injuries.

      Sputnik’s correspondent from the scene reports that several people left Pushkin Square bloodied up.

      Photographs posted to social media showed citizens bleeding from the head and pointing to bruises.

      The brawl began earlier when police responded to being pelted with water bottles and eggs, as thousands turned up in the square to participate in the demonstration called by opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

      No official information about the number or nature of injuries have yet been shared.

    • 12:58

      Russian Ombudswoman Says No Complaints Filed After Rallies in Siberia

      The Russian human rights commissioner said her office was not notified about any rights violations after unauthorized protests wrapped up in Russia’s Far East and Siberia on Saturday.

      "Today’s public gatherings in eastern Russia showed that regional authorities acted extremely correctly toward people who went out to protest despite repeated warnings," Tatyana Moskalkova said.

      She said she was monitoring demonstrations as they unfold across the country. Some 4,000 protesters took to the streets in Moscow. Another rally is underway in St.Petersburg, to the north of the capital.

      Protests were called after police arrested Alexey Navalny, a leading opposition activist, for violating probation terms on an embezzlement conviction.

      The Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor General’s Office have warned that both organizers and participants would be brought to justice for taking part in mass gatherings despite coronavirus restrictions. The government called rallies a provocation and a threat to public safety.

    • 12:57

      Russia Will Not Tolerate Interference in Navalny Case From Abroad, Ambassador to Austria Says

      The case of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has no foreign policy dimension, and Russia will not tolerate foreign interference in it, Russian Ambassador to Austria Dmitry Lyubinsky told the Tiroler Tageszeitung newspaper.

      "The Navalny case has no foreign policy dimension. We will not tolerate interference from abroad in this case. Six months ago, there was a question who Navalny is in general. Yes, he has supporters in Russia, but the West views him as much more important. Now this case is being inflated in politics. This should not undermine the foundations of our relationship", Lyubinsky said.

      When asked how Moscow plans to deal with Navalny, Lyubinsky said that this case is entirely in the hands of the Russian justice authorities.

      The Russian ambassador stressed that Moscow is trying to maintain dialogue and cooperation with the EU as constructively as possible, at the negotiating table and not through "news headlines."

      "There are many common issues we can tackle together: counterterrorism and cybersecurity, climate change, equality and the migration crisis, conflict prevention or economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis. But the choice is not ours, the EU must make a fundamental decision", Lyubinsky added.

      Many Western countries have issued statements calling for Navalny’s release, whereas the Russian Foreign Ministry advised them to focus on their own domestic affairs.

    • 12:34

      Videos from Unauthorised Moscow Rally in Support of Navalny

    • 12:34

      Navalny's Wife Yuliya Arrested in Central Moscow

      "Sorry for the quality of the photo. The lighting in the police van is very poor," she wrote on Instagram.

    • 12:33

      Russian Communication Companies Dismiss Reports About Network Issues

      Russian communications companies told Sputnik on Saturday that their networks are working as usual, despite earlier reports about connection issues.

      According to the Downdetector website, there has been an increase in malfunction complaints by clients of carriers like Beeline, MTS and MegaFon.

      "The reports about a massive [connection] failure of the Beeline mobile network across Russia does not correspond to reality. We see an increased network load in individual areas, which could affect access to some resources", Beeline said.

      Meanwhile, MTS as well as another telecommunication provider, Rostelecom, said that their networks are working as usual. MegaFon has not yet responded to Sputnik's inquiry.

    • 12:32

      Russian Watchdog Says 89% of Posts Urging Minors to Join Unauthorised Rallies Deleted

      Russia's communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, announced on Saturday that 89 percent of all detected online calls for minors to participate in unauthorised mass gatherings had been deleted.

      According to the watchdog, cooperation with online platforms allowed to bring down such calls to a minimum.

      "Currently, 89 percent of such detected messages have been deleted, while TikTok and VKontakte, which circulated them the most, have already deleted 93 and 87 percent, respectively", the watchdog said on Telegram.

    • 12:31

      Russian Police Detain Demonstrators in Major Russian Cities as Opposition Protests Unravel

      Police in St. Petersburg detained several people at the Senate Square even before the rally was set to begin while in Ural capital Yekaterinburg, protesters pelted smoke flares at riot police which led to a forceful dispersion of the gathering.

      Earlier in the day, the protesters were pushed out from the Senate Square by the police. According to a Sputnik correspondent, at approximately 11:20 GMT, the protesters returned to the square, surrounding the Bronze Horseman monument and chanting slogans. Before that, police officers were pelted with snowballs by the protesters.

      Meanwhile, some 30 participants of an unauthorized rally in the Russian city of Makhachkala, the capital of the southern Republic of Dagestan, have been detained by the police, the republic's interior ministry told Sputnik.

      "An unauthorised rally took place at Makhachkala's Central Square, approximately 30 participants were delivered to police departments for identification. Almost everyone has been release. The event at the square is over", the ministry's spokesperson said.

      Meanwhile, the security agency of the Sverdlovsk region told Sputnik that 14 people were detained during the demonstration in Yekaterinburg.

      In addition, local authorities in the Siberian city of Irkutsk said that some 2,500 people joined an unauthorised rally there.

      Protests began early Saturday in Far Eastern cities of Vladivostok and Khabarovsk and unfolded as the day progressed west, as opposition-minded citizens responded to jailed activist Alexey Navalny’s call to take to the streets.

      In the run-up to the protests, authorities urged citizens to refrain from attending the protests, as coronavirus restrictions prohibited public gatherings.

       

    • 12:30

      Thousands Gather for Opposition Protest Close to Kremlin

      Some 4,000 protesters gathered in Moscow’s Pushkinskaya Square, about a mile north of the Kremlin, on Saturday, police told Sputnik.

      "Around 4,000 people have gathered in Pushkin Square in Moscow for an unsanctioned event," the police said.

      Scuffles broke out when riot police began to get targeted by projectile water bottles and eggs, leading to several detentions.

      Moscow’s Traffic Management Centre, for its part, said that protesters have begun to pour over sidewalks and into oncoming traffic, which may lead to traffic disruptions in the city.

      The police were eventually able to push the raving mob away from the square’s landmark Pushkin monument. By 4 p.m., some 2,600 people had left the area by subway, the transport authority said on Telegram.

      "We ask you to delay travel to the city centre," the authority said, adding people should follow social distancing rules.

    • 12:28

      Watch Russian Policewoman Hand Out Face Masks to Youth Attending Unauthorised Rally in Moscow

      Policewoman in Moscow

      Watch Russian Policewoman Hand Out Face Masks to Youth Attending Unauthorised Rally in Moscow

      Illegal rallies are being held in several Russian cities in support of the blogger Alexei Navalny, who was detained for violating the terms of his probation last week. Russian authorities have warned that such rallies disrupt public order, and reminded that the current epidemiological situation does not allow for mass gatherings.
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    Live Updates: Protesters Detained at Unauthorised Rallies Across Russia in Support of Navalny
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