The United States reminds Russia that it must observe basic human freedoms, including the freedom of assembly, following mass arrests during unsanctioned opposition rallies in Russia in August 31, the U.S. Department of State said.
Russian police detained almost 200 protestors at unsanctioned opposition rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
"The United States reiterates the importance of embracing and protecting universal values, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly enshrined in the Russian Constitution, as well as in international agreements with which Russia has signed," Philip Crowley, the department's assistant secretary, told a daily press briefing.
In Moscow, police arrested some 70 people, including the Other Russia opposition party leader Eduard Limonov, Left Front opposition movement leader Konstantin Kosyakin and co-chairman of the Solidarity opposition movement Boris Nemtsov.
Police in St. Petersburg detained 90 protesters, including Olga Kurnosova, leader of the United Civil Front opposition movement.
"We are concerned by actions by the Russian Government in recent years, shrinking the space for civil society. We have concerns about intimidation of citizens, intimidation of journalists, intimidations of nongovernmental operators who are working on behalf of the Russian people. It is part of our ongoing dialogue with the Russian Government, and we hope and expect that Russia will live up to its human rights obligations," Crowley added.
Russian opposition groups rally on Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow on the last day of each month that has 31 days in defense of their right to freedom of assembly, as enshrined in Article 31 of the Russian Constitution.
WASHINGTON, September 2 (RIA Novosti)