No justification for police brutality. West condemns arrests of protesters in Russia

The Kremlin’s attempts to eradicate the very roots of dissent on the eve of the fourth inauguration of Vladimir Putin outraged the whole world. The EU and US have made condemning statements.

Violent dispersals, beatings and arests of protesters, including children and pensioners, during Saturday’s peaceful rallies in Russia, could not remain unnoticed.

Police detaining teenager in Moscow, phot. Lev Arpishkin

“The detention of over a thousand demonstrators and violence used against them by the Russian authorities across the country today threaten the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly in the Russian Federation. The detention of journalists also threatens the freedom of the media. These fundamental rights are enshrined in the Russian constitution and we expect them to be protected, not eroded,” Maja Kocijancic, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said.

Even if some of the demonstrations were not authorised in the location where they took place, this cannot justify police brutality and mass arrests, EU officials stressed.

According to official and unofficial estimates, up to 1,600 persons were detained across the Russian Federation. The Kremlin is keeping silence, and the United States is calling for the immediate release of them.

Police taking boy to car in Saratov, phot. ИА Свободные Новости

“Leaders who are secure in their own legitimacy don’t arrest their peaceful opponents for protesting,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

Moreover, strong people never offend the weak. it is the photos of brutal arrests of teenagers and pensioners that have triggered a social media storm.

The detained opposition politician Alexei Navalny was suddenly released after the midnight. On May 11 court, he will appear before court.

“There might have been an order not to jail [me] before the inauguration. Two protocols – for organising the rally and offering resistance to the police – were drawn upon me,” he said on Twitter.

Belarusian TV also covered the protests. But only those in Scotland and France…

“Our state-run propaganda media outlets have two goals – it is either to discredit something or to praise something. In this case, there was no place for words of praise because the relations are rather tense. On the other hand, they have not been tasked with slamming the Russian opposition,” Vital Tsyhankou, a political analyst at RFE/RL, said.

Vladimir Putin’s fourth inauguration is scheduled for May, 7. The current host of the Kremlin has been at the helm for over 18 years as President and Prime Minister.

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