Tuesday, 18 June, 2019

Russian police detain at least 23 people at Moscow protest - monitors

Russian national guard servicemen detain a participant of a protest action Russian national guard servicemen detain a participant of a protest
Patty Aguilar | 14 June, 2019, 21:44

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.

Police manhandled some protesters and beat others with truncheons amid shouts of "you are criminals" and "stop police terror".

On the eve of the march the Kremlin said the protest could interfere with Russia Day festivities.

In announcing the arrest, police posted photos of drugs allegedly taken in the journalist's apartment then admitted the images came from another case.

The correspondent of the investigations department of the Medusa edition, Ivan Golunov, was detained in Moscow on the afternoon of June 6. Some wore T-shirts reading "I am/We are Ivan Golunov", the headline used by three national newspapers amid a public outcry over the case.

"The case against Golunov is actually over".

Golunov said he wouldn't participate in the protest but planned to continue investigating government corruption for Meduza news. Analyst Andrei Kolesnikov called the lifting of charges against the journalist a sop to critics. Before Golunov's release 25,000 people had expressed interest in the solidarity march on Facebook.

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A member of staff from German magazine Der Spiegel was held as well as journalists from Vedomosti and Echo Moscow Radio. The human rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe called on the Russian authorities, the demonstrators arrested again to release.

Another protester named only by Reuters as Ivan, 28, said the freeing of Golunov did not amount to a victory. "What happened to Ivan Golunov happens every day all across the country".

The rally was unsanctioned by city authorities and police soon began to detain people for violating protest laws. "We should not lull ourselves into complacency", said local lawmaker Maksim Reznik.

While welcoming Golunov's release, a spokeswoman for the European Union on foreign affairs said the trend in Russian Federation with regard to media freedom "remains worrying".

During the protest, several journalists also were arrested along with opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, the Russian watchdog group OVD-Info reported. The few independent media that still operate in Russian Federation are under huge pressure, Kremlin critics say.

Police in Moscow had earlier put the number detained at 200 and said charges could result in 20 days in jail.

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