More than 400 people detained during Moscow anti-corruption march

More than 400 people have been reportedly detained in Moscow during a peaceful but unsanctioned march through central Moscow against the alleged impunity and corruption of law enforcement agencies.

More than 400 people were detained on Wednesday during a peaceful but unsanctioned march in Moscow against the alleged impunity and corruption of law enforcement agencies.

"More than 400 people had been detained at the march," said OVD Info, which monitors opposition arrests.

Police officers detain a protester during a march in Moscow, Russia.
Source: AP

Police earlier said more than 200 people had been held, including opposition politician Alexei Navalny. 

Police abruptly dropped drugs charges a day earlier against journalist Ivan Golunov, a rare U-turn by the authorities in the face of anger from his supporters who said he was framed for his reporting.

Golunov, a 36-year-old journalist known for exposing corruption among Moscow city officials, was detained by police last Thursday and accused of dealing drugs, an allegation he flatly denied. 

Russian national guard servicemen detain a participant of a protest action.
Source: EPA

The crude way supporters said Golunov was set up and detained triggered an unusual show of media unity and an uncharacteristically swift reversal from authorities nervous about social unrest at a time when President Vladimir Putin already faces disquiet over living standards.

The authorities had hoped freeing Golunov and promising punishment for those who allegedly framed him would appease his supporters’ anger, but his colleagues decided to go ahead with a protest on Wednesday, a public holiday in Russia, regardless.

The authorities had warned them in advance that the demonstration would be illegal and could pose a risk to public safety.

A detained protester looks out of a police bus window in Moscow.
Source: AP

Under Russian law, the time and place of protests involving more than one person needs to be agreed with the authorities in advance.

Organisers of Wednesday’s event had demanded that Moscow city officials negotiate those terms with them during a live broadcast, something officials refused to do.

Published 12 June 2019 at 8:50pm, updated 13 June 2019 at 4:57am
Source: AFP - SBS