Among the more than 1,600 demonstrators arrested today during protests calling for his release was the wife of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny named Yulia Navalny.
In an Instagram post on Saturday, Yulia Navalnaya revealed she had been arrested by police. She was taking part in a rally in Moscow, demanding that her husband, Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, be released.
After being poisoned with a severe nerve agent, which he blames on the regime of President Vladimir Putin, Navalny has been recovering in Germany. In Moscow, Pushkin Square in the city center was packed with around 5,000 demonstrators. Clashes with police broke out and protesters were hauled off to police buses and jail vehicles by riot officers.
Other demonstrations spread from the more populated European cities to the island city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, north of Japan, across Russia’s vast territory. In the Siberian city of Yakutsk, where temperatures fell as low as -50 ° C, demonstrations were also conducted.
The scope of the protests showed how, amid official government repression and being systematically ignored by state media, Navalny and his anti-corruption movement have established an extensive support network.
Mass arrests have already started on Moscow’s Pushkin Square – even before the official beginning of a protest demanding #Navalny be let out of prison. Police seem to be grabbing people on the square at random. Dozens of arrests across the country at other protests already. pic.twitter.com/wGUE0iErDT
The rallies deemed illegal by the police were the first by Mr. Navalny’s supporters since he was arrested on his return to Moscow last weekend after spending five months in Germany recovering from Novichok’s poisoning.
Protests calling for #Navalny to be released from prison are taking place all over Russia. His team has listed 93 cities. Several time zones away, people have been protesting in Yakutia in -50 C. This video shows in Vladivostok: “Let him go!” they chant. pic.twitter.com/bRFLJq142K
According to the OVD-INFO monitoring group, which claims it is the highest number of detentions that the organization has ever reported, more than 1,900 people were detained in Russia because of the protests.