Russian opposition leader's office 'raided' by police

Michele Moreno
January 29, 2018

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detained by police in Moscow during a rally to support a boycott of the country's presidential election.

Navalny was arrested in central Moscow earlier Sunday as his supporters called for a boycott of the March election, in which he has been banned from participating.

Last year Navalny mounted a forceful bid to run for president but officials ruled him ineligible due to a criminal conviction which he says is politically motivated.

The protests a year ago were bigger, Russian outlets estimated that as many as 50,000 people turned out.

Following Navalny's calls, police raided his office questioned many of his supporters.

Police pounced on Alexei Navalny, considered the most serious challenger to strongman Putin, just moments after he appeared at a rally in the city's Pushkin Square.

Navalny was arrested as he walked down a main thoroughfare to the demonstration.

A video which later gathered traction on social media showed several policemen wrestling him to the ground before dragging him into a police bus.

The 41-year-old led mass street protests against Mr Putin in the winter of 2011-12 and was arrested three times in 2017 for organising unauthorised anti-Putin protests.

In a blog post on January 27, Navalny urged people to come to the rallies on January 28, writing that "to stay at home is to send them (those in power) the signal: 'I'm ready to endure this for another six years'". "This doesn't mean anything", he said on Twitter. "You march not for me, but for yourself and your future". One broadcaster on the stream said police apparently were using a grinder to try to get access to the studio.

Before Navalny's public detainment, Russian police also raided his campaign headquarters, reportedly responding to a "bomb threat".

Around 240 people were detained across the country, according to OVD-Info, an independent group which monitors crackdowns on demonstrations.

Police also detained several employees of his Anti-Corruption Foundation as well as supporters. They marched for fair and free elections, they said, and for an end to President Vladimir Putin's almost two-decade-long rule. "We expect that the election will be declared illegal and that there will be a new election in which our candidate, Alexei Navalny, will be able to stand".

"If the people want someone other than Putin then that's how it should be", Alexander Pavlovich, 79.

Other reports by Insurance News

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