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Russia's anti-corruption protests: detentions, detentions, detentions

The pressure on Russian individiuals and organisations involved in anti-corruption rallies continues. 

OVD-Info
13 October 2017
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We continue our partnership with OVD-Info, an NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday, we bring you the latest information on freedom of assembly. 

This week, we report on what happened over the weekend of 7-8 October and the aftermath in terms of arrests, fines and jail sentences.

On 7 October, supporters of Alexey Navalny held events in 79 Russian cities. Jointly with Meduza, we have made an interactive map of the protests. According to our data, between 2,560 and 21,520 people took part in the various protests. In total, the number of those detained was 321 in 30 cities; some of the activists were detained before the start of the protests.  

The interactive map shows how many people took part in the protests, whether the rallies had official permission or not, how many people were detained, and in addition the various specifics of how each rally was held. You can tell the story of your own detention by using the form on our website (click on the megaphone in the top righthand corner) or add to the information about detentions on the map if we have missed something.

What’s most important 

In Moscow, during the protests one person was detained. He was released without charge. An activist was also detained driving a car broadcasting a recording of a speech by Navalny on loudspeakers. The activist was charged with violating the regulations governing public events, and then released.

The more serious events in Moscow began later that night. Some protesters decided to continue the protest on Manezh Square. Altogether that night and the next day (8 October) 64 people were detained on Manezh Square and outside the State Duma

In St Petersburg, arrests began on the evening of 7 October on Liteiny Prospekt, where the protesters had gone from the Field of Mars. The journalist David Frenkel was beaten (later he was released) and a woman who tried to defend him was badly injured by a blow to the head.

Altogether there were several waves of detentions of protesters in the centre of St Petersburg. At least 68 people were taken to a minimum of five different police stations. Most of those detained were released before nightfall.

Late on the evening of 8 October some Navalny supporters went to Palace Square where a total of 20 people were arrested. On 9 October courts sentenced some of those detained to jail terms ranging from three to 17 days. Kalininsky district court jailed one of those arrested for 32 days. Other protesters were fined or sentenced to community work.

A criminal investigation was launched following the dispersal of the protests in St. Petersburg when an ambulance was unable to reach a woman, as a result of the numbers of people gathered in the city centre, and she subsequently died.

In Yaroslavl, on the evening of 7 October police arrived at the local Navalny campaign headquarters. During the rally itself two people were detained. Other protesters went to the police station to support those detained. The police took them into the station (more than 50 people) and forced them to listen to a talk. Finally, administrative charges were brought against four people for violating the regulations governing public events and for failing to obey the lawful demands of police. They were held in the police station overnight.

In Ekaterinburg, 14 people were arrested. A chokehold was used against one of the protesters, Ruslan Markelov, at the time of his arrest, as a result of which he lost consciousness. The bicycle of another protester was stolen on the square where the rally took place, but the police dismissed this as of no significance.

Еven before the start of the protests, preventive detentions of Navalny campaign staff and activists had taken place in many cities. Detailed accounts of the circumstances in which the protests took place throughout Russia can be read here.

Information about the various court hearings that took place can be read here. This information is being regularly updated. At the current time, in relation to the protests held on 7 and 8 October throughout Russia, activists have been fined a total of 1,040,000 roubles and sentenced to 166 days in jail and 410 hours of community work.

Meanwhile, Moscow City Court upheld the two-and-a-half-year prison sentence handed down to Rasim Iskakov, a participant in the 12 June anti-corruption protest.

The whereabouts of film director Oleg Sentsov, who was sentenced on trumped-up charges of organising acts of terrorism in Crimea, is now known. We have published his letter to Chelyabinsk human rights defenders. Among other things, you can read in his letter about the Northern Lights, the great Russian rivers and about the pros and cons of using the services of prison tour operators.

A judgment in the case of Dmitry Krepkin, a defendant in the “26 March case,” will soon be issued. We publish extracts from the complaints made by his lawyer to the court about the more serious violations in the case.

Thank you!

 

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For more information on OVD-Info, read this article from the organisation's founder on how OVD is breaking the civil society mould here.

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Join openDemocracy for a live discussion on what the coronavirus tells us about globalisation, neoliberalism and our shared experience as humanity. Thursday 28 May, 5pm UK time/6pm CET

Speakers

Anthony Barnett Founder of openDemocracy, and author of ‘Out of the Belly of Hell: COVID-19 and the humanisation of globalisation’, which looks at how social movements since 1968 have reshaped the world.

Achille Mbembe Leading post-colonial philosopher who developed the idea of necropolitics: how politics can dictate who lives and who dies.

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Chair: Réka Kinga Papp Hungarian journalist and editor-in-chief of Eurozine.

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