Thousands Arrested in Protest against Putin

Posted May 07, 2018

As UNIAN reported earlier, protest rallies titled "He's not our tsar" and set up by supporters of the Russian opposition's Alexei Navalny, launched across Russian cities on Sunday, May 5.

Russian police on Saturday detain a protester at a demonstration against President Vladimir Putin in St.Petersburg, Russia.

Navalny's team organized 90 protests across the country, dubbing them "He is not our czar", a reference to Putin, who was first elected president in 2000 and is already Russia's longest-serving leader since Joseph Stalin. Law enforcement officers, grabbed by the arms and legs, carried the Bulk of the crowd.

Under the slogan "He's Not Our Tsar", Navalny, 41, had called on supporters to take to the streets ahead of Putin's May 7 inauguration to protest what Navalny says is Putin's autocratic rule.

Pavel Kuznetsov, a 72-year-old pensioner wearing a T-shirt depicting Putin wearing a crown with a line through it, said he and others had turned up in Moscow to protest against what he said was an election created to keep a dictator in power.

Supporters of opposition figure Aleksei Navalny gathered for rallies across Russian Federation on Saturday.

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That call was countered by mobs of Putin supporters who turned out in strength to rough up their idol's critics.

Among the measures to preserve the illusion of Putin's popular support was the exclusion of Navalny himself from the election.

Latest polls show the 65-year-old continues to enjoy an approval rating of over 80 percent, with many crediting him with having restored national pride and expanded Moscow's global clout with interventions in Syria and Ukraine.

Amnesty International said its representatives saw the "Cossacks" pummel protesters with whips and fists as police looked on.

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A total of over 1,200 people were taken to police stations in the Russian capital.

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"Armenia has shown the people get to decide", one protester in Pushkinskaya Square told TV Rain.

With more than 56 million votes, nearly 77 percent of the total, his March election win was his biggest ever and the largest by any post-Soviet Russian leader, something he and his allies say gave him an unequivocal mandate to govern. "He has been doing it for 18 years and has done nothing good for it", said Moscow demonstrator Dmitry Nikitenko.

"Leaders who are secure in their own legitimacy don't arrest their peaceful opponents for protesting", she wrote.

Perhaps at the start of another six-year term for President Putin, is Mr Navalny not better served by focusing on his anti-corruption campaign which exposes the system for what it is, not for what he tries to make it seem?

Putin has dismissed Navalny, who was barred from running in the presidential election on what he said was a trumped up pretext, as a troublemaker bent on sowing chaos on behalf of Washington.

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