Russian Police detain Alexei Navalny's allies ahead of Sunday’s protest
Russian police detained the brother of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny and several other activists Wednesday night ahead of a planned nationwide protest Sunday to demand the Kremlin critic’s release.
Oleg Navalny, Lyubov Sobol and Anastasia Vasilyeva were among those detained for 48 hours, Ivan Zhdanov, director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, wrote on Twitter. The activists were brought in as the rallies they organized Jan. 23 allegedly violated sanitary regulations aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19.
Tens of thousands of people in cities across Russia joined protests last Saturday to demand Navalny be freed from jail, where he is being held for 30 days over alleged parole violations. They were some of the largest unsanctioned rallies under President Vladimir Putin’s 21-year rule. The Kremlin has rejected calls from Western leaders to release Navalny.
Oleg Navalny was let out of prison in 2018 after serving a 3 1/2 year sentence for embezzlement that the opposition says was used to put pressure on his brother. Alexey was arrested Jan. 17 on charges he violated the terms of a suspended sentence related to the same case.
A Moscow Region court is scheduled to hear an appeal of Navalny’s detention Thursday.