People show posters as they as they attend a protest against the jailing of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in front of the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. A Russian judge had ordered opposition leader Alexei Navalny jailed for 30 days, after the leading Kremlin critic returned to Russia from Germany where he was recovering from nerve agent poisoning. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)(AP)
People show posters as they as they attend a protest against the jailing of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in front of the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. A Russian judge had ordered opposition leader Alexei Navalny jailed for 30 days, after the leading Kremlin critic returned to Russia from Germany where he was recovering from nerve agent poisoning. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)(AP)

Protests erupt across Russia demanding Alexei Navalny's release

Navalny has been a thorn in the Kremlin’s side for a decade, unusually durable in an opposition movement often demoralized by repressions.
AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 09:09 PM IST

Protests erupted in cities across Russia on Saturday to demand the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the Kremlin's most prominent foe. Police arrested more than 1,600 people, some of whom took to the streets in temperatures as frigid as minus-50 Celsius (minus-58 Fahrenheit).

In Moscow, thousands of demonstrators filled Pushkin Square in the city center, where clashes with police broke out and demonstrators were roughly dragged off by helmeted riot officers to police buses and detention trucks, some beaten with batons.

Navalny’s wife Yulia was among those arrested.

Police eventually pushed demonstrators out of the square. Thousands then regrouped along a wide boulevard about a kilometer (half-mile) away, many of them throwing snowballs at the police.

The protests stretched across Russia’s vast territory, from the island city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk north of Japan and the eastern Siberian city of Yakutsk, where temperatures plunged to minus-50 Celsius, to Russia’s more populous European cities. The range demonstrated how Navalny and his anti-corruption campaign have built an extensive network of support despite official government repression and being routinely ignored by state media.

The OVD-Info group that monitors political arrests said more than 500 people were detained in Moscow on Saturday and more than 200 at another large demonstration in St. Petersburg. Overall, it said 1,614 people had been arrested in some 90 cities.

Navalny was arrested on January 17 when he returned to Moscow from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from a severe nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin and which Russian authorities deny. Authorities say his stay in Germany violated terms of a suspended sentence in a 2014 criminal conviction, while Navalny says the conviction was for made-up charges.

The 44-year-old activist is well known nationally for his reports on the corruption that has flourished under President Vladimir Putin's government.

His wide support puts the Kremlin in a strategic bind — risking more protests and criticism from the West if it keeps him in custody but apparently unwilling to back down by letting him go free.

Navalny faces a court hearing in early February to determine whether his sentence in the criminal case for fraud and money-laundering — which Navalny says was politically motivated — is converted to 3 1/2 years behind bars.

Moscow police on Thursday arrested three top Navalny associates, two of whom were later jailed for periods of nine and 10 days.

Navalny fell into a coma while aboard a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow on Aug. 20. He was transferred from a hospital in Siberia to a Berlin hospital two days later. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to the Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.

Russian authorities insisted that the doctors who treated Navalny in Siberia before he was airlifted to Germany found no traces of poison and have challenged German officials to provide proof of his poisoning. Russia refused to open a full-fledged criminal inquiry, citing a lack of evidence that Navalny was poisoned.

Last month, Navalny released the recording of a phone call he said he made to a man he described as an alleged member of a group of officers of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, who purportedly poisoned him in August and then tried to cover it up. The FSB dismissed the recording as fake.

Navalny has been a thorn in the Kremlin’s side for a decade, unusually durable in an opposition movement often demoralized by repressions.

He has been jailed repeatedly in connection with protests and twice was convicted of financial misdeeds in cases that he said were politically motivated. He suffered significant eye damage when an assailant threw disinfectant into his face. He was taken from jail to a hospital in 2019 with an illness that authorities said was an allergic reaction but which many suspected was a poisoning.

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This Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, zoom video conference collage captured by The Sacramento Bee, shows Dr. Scott Green who appeared Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, for his Sacramento Superior Court trial, held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, from an operating room in Sacramento, Calif. He was dressed in surgical scrubs with a patient undergoing the procedure just out of view; the beeps of medical machinery can be heard in the background. The Medical Board of California said it would investigate a plastic surgeon who appeared in a videoconference for his traffic violation trial while operating.(Superior Court of California/Sacramento Bee via AP)(AP)

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US President Joe Biden before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, U.S, on Saturday. (Bloomberg Photo )

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By hindustantimes.com | Posted by Kanishka Sarkar | Reuters, Washington
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Myanmar: Woman shot at during crackdown on protests

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 05:10 AM IST
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The 574 federally recognized tribes shared in $8 billion from a massive coronavirus relief package approved last March.(AP)
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Covid-19 crisis leaves tribes without US recognition at higher risk

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Developed and rich nations are opposing the proposal.(AP | Representational image)

Global growth to be hit if IP norms not waived to deal with Covid-19: India

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PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 10:44 PM IST
In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted a proposal suggesting a waiver for all WTO (World Trade Organization) members on the implementation, application and enforcement of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement.
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NASA photo released on February 24, 2021, shows images from Perseverance rover of its new home in Jezero Crater.(via AFP)
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Mars facts: What do we know about Red planet? How does it compare with Earth?

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Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Johnson & Johnson logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. (REUTERS FILE)
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Workers install barbed wire on fencing outside the Hennepin County Government Center, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2021 in Minneapolis.(AP)
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Growing tension in Minneapolis as trial looms in George Floyd's death

AP, Minneapolis
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 09:05 PM IST
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