On January 23, Russians took to the streets to protest aganst the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the authorities’ abuse of power. A total of 3,695 people, including 195 minors and 49 journalists, were detained in 125 cities across the country.
In Moscow, the Investigative Committee initiated proceedings over allegedly violating sanitary requirements; no more details being provided. On Saturday, the Moscow mayor’s office said that 19 persons infected with COVID-19 had broken self-isolation rules and taken part in the rally. It is unclear whether the criminal case is related to the people mentioned above.
In total, six criminal cases have been launched on the back of the protest rally in the Russian capital city. Some of the charges were brought against the participants who had reportedly been spotted in using force against a police officer, which may be punished with a prison term of up to 5 years. Theree are also cases over ‘committing hooliganism acts’ and ‘damaging property’.
In St. Petersburg, blocking the streets by demonstrators has become the subject of criminal prosecution. The same situation is developing in Vladivostok, where, according to the local police, the protesters blocked traffic in the city centre for about three hours, which was ‘a threat to the transport’s functioning and a threat to the citizens’ life, health, and safety’. It has not been reported how many people have the status of suspects in this case.
Earlier, the Vladivostok authorities made mention of three more criminal cases; defendants in two are suspected of violence against the police. Moreover, Navalny’s supporters have already been questioned as part of the case on violating sanitary norms.