DEPUTY DIRECTOR – GLOBAL NEWS COORDINATION, LONDON
From THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Media www.rajawalisiber.com – The chants were loud and unmistakable in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, where several thousand people marched: “Down with the czar!”
Tens of thousands of people protested nationwide to demand the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny in a wave of demonstrations that have rattled the Kremlin. Many chanted slogans against President Vladimir Putin.
In Moscow, protesters chanted “Putin, resign!” and “Putin, thief!” — a reference to an opulent Black Sea estate reportedly built for the Russian leader that was featured in a widely popular video released by Navalny’s team. Putin has denied he or his relatives own the lavish property.
More than 5,100 people were detained Sunday by police, according to a monitoring group, and some were beaten, Jim Heintz and Vladimir Isachenkov report from Moscow.
One protester in the Russian capital said, “I’m not afraid, because we are the majority, We mustn’t be scared by clubs because the truth is on our side.”
The massive protests came despite efforts by Russian authorities to stem the tide of demonstrations after tens of thousands rallied across the country last weekend in the largest, most widespread show of discontent that Russia had seen in years. Despite threats of jail terms, warnings to social media groups and tight police cordons, the protests again engulfed cities across the country’s 11 time zones.
Navalny’s team quickly called another protest in Moscow for Tuesday, when he is set to face a court hearing that could send him to prison for years.
Moscow Streets: The police plan to stifle an opposition protest by clamping down on the center of Moscow backfired. Not only did the massive demonstration demanding freedom for Navalny take place, but it was spread throughout a wide swath of the city. By making a long trek through Moscow’s icy streets, the protesters got a chance to spread their message further, attracting considerable attention with their chants against Putin.