Some 70 people remain in jail following Russia vote protests

Some 70 people remain in custody following last week’s protests in Moscow against the allegedly fraudulent December 4 parliamentary elections, a police spokesman said on Monday.

Some 620 people were detained during the protests near Moscow’s central Chistiye Prudy subway station and downtown Triumfalnaya Square early last week.

More than 300 protesters were detained during Monday’s demonstration at Chistiye Prudy, which gathered some 2,000 people, according to police estimates. The unofficial number of participants had been put at 5,000.

The protest against what many view as widespread vote rigging in favor of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party during the December 4 polls was authorized by the authorities. Police dispersed the demonstration, however, when a crowd began marching towards downtown Moscow, which had not been permitted.

Another 300 people were detained during Tuesday’s protest at Triumfalnaya Square, which also gathered some 2,000 people, according to official figures, and up to 6,000 people, according to unofficial estimates.

On Wednesday, some 30 people staged a protest at Triumfalnaya Square. Around 20 participants in the unsanctioned demonstration were detained. A major protest on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square on Saturday, which gathered between an officially estimated 25,000 and 40,000 participants, ended peacefully.

The police spokesman said “no more than 70 people are currently being held in detention centers following court decisions on their administrative arrest.” The majority of those in custody were detained during the protests, he said.

The remainder of those detained have been released after receiving a warning, the spokesman said. The cases of those detained over disobeying police orders are to be considered by magistrate courts, while the others guilty of participating in illegal demonstrations face fines, he added, without elaborating on the number of such cases.

Among those detained during the protest at Triumfalnaya Square were controversial anti-corruption activist and blogger Alexei Navalny and Ilya Yashin, leader of the opposition Solidarity movement. Both men have been sentenced to 15 days in jail for disobeying police orders during the protests.


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