On Wednesday 21st, more than 1,000 protestors were arrested in Russia during anti-Putin protests called across the country to demand the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. This was reported by the OVD-Info portal, which specializes in monitoring arrests and defending detainees.
“For about two hours, Provozashchita Postcard’s lawyer Elena Borodina has been unable to enter the 34th police department in Saint Petersburg, where 4 of her clients are being held,” the organization wrote.
It also detailed that the count refers to protests called by the opposition in at least 82 cities. According to the portal, the highest number of arrests has been in Saint Petersburg (351), Ufa (87), and Sochi (50). In Moscow, there have been at least 20 arrests.
Protestors were assaulted for supporting Navalny
Similarly, the portal denounced the use of tasers during arrests. For example, it recounts the case of Maria Kasyanenko, taken to the 44th police department in Saint Petersburg, who was tasered during her arrest: “the police officer grabbed my arm and pushed me with a stun gun simply because he wanted to.”
“In Yaroslavl, a protester, Alexander Katilov, was beaten in the stomach and head while riot police were taking him to the police station in a bus. He himself told OVD-Info about this.”
Members of Navalni’s team were also arrested. They are Vadim Kobzev and Yekaterina Vereshchagina. The activists are part of the opposition in Rostov-on-Don.
In 2020, Navalny was hospitalized in serious condition after being poisoned with a nerve agent (Novichok). He was treated in Berlin and discharged a month later. At the time, Navalny accused Vladimir Putin of being responsible for his poisoning and an investigation implicated Federal Security Service (FSB) agents.
On January 17, 2021, the opposition leader returned to Russia and was arrested for violating his parole. Three weeks ago, Navalny started a hunger strike and this week it became known that he was transferred to a prison hospital. Those close to him report that his health is at risk.