Russian police arrested more than 1,000 protesters across the country on Sunday. They took to the streets for the second week in a row to demand the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. According to the Russian government, these demonstrations are illegal.
The protest monitoring group OVD-Info reported that 1,009 people were arrested, including 142 protesters in Moscow. There, riot police are ready to block the protesters’ path if they want to go to the FSB office.
Police also closed several metro stations in the capital. In Saint Petersburg, a large part of the center will also be closed.
The first clashes between police and protesters were reported in Russia’s Far East. There, protesters gathered in a square in the coastal city of Vladivostok and on the ice in the frozen Amur Bay. “The desire to live in a free country is greater than the fear of arrest,” said a 25-year-old student.
A video clip shows protesters holding hands and chanting “Putin is the thief” in the Amur Bay, where the temperature was 13 degrees below zero. In Tomsk, Siberia, supporters of the opposition gathered in a concert hall. They brought the Russian flags and shouted “Let him go.”
Protesters in Yakutsk also braved icy temperatures. The temperature was 42 degrees below zero when dozens of people gathered there. “This is the first time I have gone to a protest,” said one protester who called himself Evan. “I’m just fed up with the authorities’ utter lawlessness.”
Navalny was arrested after returning to Russia
Last weekend, tens of thousands of Russians already took part in protests to release the well-known opponent of President Vladimir Putin. Then the police arrested thousands of people.
Allies of major Kremlin critics have been placed under house arrest. A Russian judge ruled last week that Navalny remains in prison for now.
Authorities arrested Navalny at an airport in Moscow when he returned from Germany this month. There he underwent medical treatment after being poisoned with a nerve gas in his home country.
The Russian authorities accuse the politician of failing to comply with the terms of the suspended sentence imposed on him during that period.