Published: Mon, June 12, 2017
World News | By Cecilia Wilkerson

Moscow protest location changed, raising fear of arrests

Moscow protest location changed, raising fear of arrests

Vladimir Putin's most vocal critic, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, has called on his thousands of supporters to join him at anti-corruption protests across Russian Federation today (12 June).

"Alexei has been arrested in the entrance to our block of flats", Yuliya Navalny wrote, adding "our plans haven't changed".

Mr Navalny earlier called on supporters to attend anti-corruption rallies across Russian Federation.

Mr Navalny said contractors hired to build a stage at the agreed-upon venue could not do their work.

"We are cancelling the rally on Sakharov Avenue and moving it to Tverskaya Street", a main thoroughfare to the Kremlin, he said.

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Police have warned that they will take action if protesters break the law.

In statements to a local radio station, Moscow's police chief Vladimir Chernikov warned that officers would detain anyone caught breaching peace with placards and slogans.

But Navalny said late on Sunday that the authorities had pressured firms into refusing to supply him and his allies with sound and video equipment to make themselves heard and seen, a move he said was created to humiliate protesters.

The protest Monday was part of a day of demonstrations throughout Russian Federation spearheaded by Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who has emerged as Russia's most prominent opposition figure and who has announced he intends to run for president next year.

The protests in March were called to demand the resignation of Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev.

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Navalny is trying to get on the ballot for the March 2018 presidential election, in which Putin is widely expected to seek and secure a fourth term as president.

Mr Navalny, a former lawyer who was partly blinded after having a green liquid thrown in his face in April, has previously been jailed for his role in leading protests.

Navalny argues that he was forced to call people to another unauthorised rally, claiming that no firm would supply a stage, screens or speakers for the protest he had been given permission for. It was closed off to traffic on Monday for an extensive commemoration of the national holiday Russia Day, including people dressed in historical Russian costumes.

The wife of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says that he has been arrested outside his Moscow home on his way to the main demonstration in the capital.

Alexey Navalny on June 9.

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