Saturday, 23 October 2021

Protest leaders detained ahead of Moscow elections

MOSCOW: Russian police detained the leaders of recent anti-government protests in a wave of arrests ahead of local elections on Sunday.

Ilya Azar, a journalist and protest organiser, was facing up to 30 days in jail following his arrest late on Monday, which sparked fierce controversy after police left his child unsupervised at home.

“They don’t care that a child who is not even two years old, was left at home alone,” Azar, a municipal deputy who works for Russia’s most prominent opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, said on Telegram.

Lyubov Sobol — a top ally of opposition leader Alexei Navalny — and activist Nikolai Lyaskin were also detained in late-night arrests on Monday.

The three activists, all accused of organising illegal protests, were released pending court appearances. Azar and Sobol were set to appear on Tuesday.

Protests over the summer saw tens of thousands take to the streets after authorities blocked Navalny’s allies and other independent politicians from running in elections for Moscow city hall on Sunday.

Hundreds of activists were arrested in a crackdown and the size of the protests has diminished.

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