Over 100 detained in Russia amid nationwide protests in support of Navalny
Moscow, Apr 21 (EFE).- More than 100 people were taken into custody after supporters of ailing Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny defied authorities to stage nationwide protests on Wednesday.
Navalny is being held in a prison camp, where his health has been rapidly deteriorating, according to the 44-year-old’s team.
A large crowd of people in the city of Omsk, Siberia, was chanting “Freedom for Alexei Navalny,” and called for the resignation of the country’s president, Vladimir Putin.
The OVD-Info protest monitoring group said that 113 people had been detained in 39 cities so far.
A total of 19 demonstrators were arrested in the city of Kemerovo in southwestern Siberia, and some 12 others in Irkutsk and Tomsk cities.
In St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Krasnoyarsk, security forces have searched houses and buildings looking for coordinators from Navalny’s offices, according to pro-opposition local media outlets.
Russia’s Interior Ministry and the prosecutor’s office warned against holding unauthorized protests, and said counter-measures would be taken.
In mid-January, more than 10,000 people were detained during pro-Navalny protests held after the opposition figure himself was arrested upon returning from Germany, where he had received specialist medical treatment.
The lawyer and activist almost lost his life when he was poisoned by the military-grade nerve agent Novichok while on a campaign trail in August last year. He claims Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the attack.
Since his imprisonment, Navalny has been complaining of back problems, fever and cough.