Russia: Mass detentions after Putin critic Navalny jailed

World

Nearly 1,400 people were detained in Russia during Tuesday’s protests in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, said rights monitors.

In Moscow, riot police were filmed beating demonstrators with batons.

44-year-old Navalny was earlier jailed for three-and-a-half years for violating the conditions of a suspended sentence. He says the case was fabricated.

He returned to Russia in January after receiving treatment for a near-fatal nerve agent attack last August in Germany.

Navalny has accused President Vladimir Putin of ordering the attack with the Novichok agent, describing the president as a “poisoner”. Putin has denied the allegation.

The EU, the US and the UK have all condemned Tuesday’s court verdict, demanding the opposition leader be immediately released.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in central Moscow following the court’s decision.

Violent scenes in the capital soon followed, with video on social media showing police beating and arresting those who came out to support Navalny. One journalist was seen being hit on the head with a baton by a police officer.

Russia’s OVD-Info human rights monitors said 1,116 people were detained on Tuesday in Moscow, and 246 in St Petersburg, the country’s second-largest city.

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