Brutal clash between Russian Police and Supporters of Putin’s arrested Opponent Aleksei Navalny

Moscow, Russia – What started as peaceful protests in over 60 Russian cities on Saturday to demand the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the Kremlin’s most prominent foe. (Jan. 23), ended in a bizar violent clash between Russian police and supporters of Putin’s arrested opponent Aleksei Navalny.

Navalny had called on his supporters to protest on Saturday after being arrested last weekend as he returned to Russia from Germany for the first time since being poisoned with a nerve agent he says was applied to his underpants by state security agents in August.

The authorities had warned people to stay away from the protests, saying they risked catching COVID-19 as well as prosecution and possible jail time for attending an unauthorised event. But protesters defied the ban and bitter cold and turned out in force.

The OVD-Info protest monitor group said at least 2,131 people – including 300 in the capital, Moscow and 162 in Saint Petersburg – had been detained across Russia, a number likely to rise. It reported arrests at rallies in nearly 70 towns and cities.

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