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Navalny verdict: LIVE UPDATES

Published time: July 18, 2013 06:48
Edited time: July 22, 2013 08:56

People crowd in front of the State Duma in central Moscow on July 18, 2013, protesting as opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to five years in a penal colony after finding him guilty of embezzlement in a timber deal (AFP Photo)

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Russian opposition protest leader Aleksey Navalny has been found guilty of corruption on a large scale. The anti-corruption blogger has been sentenced to 5 years in jail for embezzlement of funds in a state-owned timber company.

6:07 GMT:   A police officer tells the crowd through a megaphone, "Let Mr. Navalny get by!" Security was stepped up at the train station before the opposition blogger's arrival.

6:05 GMT: Navalny thanks Ofitserov, his co-defendant. The crowd chants "Ofitserov!"

6:04 GMT: Navalny has returned to Moscow from Kirov. About a hundred supporters welcomed him at the train station, which had earlier been closed due to a bomb threat.

Saturday, July 20

15:45 GMT: Vladimir Putin is aware of the situation with the opposition activist Aleksey Navalny, Itar-Tass cites presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.  

“However, it is widely known that the President does not and cannot comment on court decisions,” Peskov added.

When asked about the possibility of a presidential pardon for Navalny if he is jailed, Peskov said that, according to the law, a convicted person must plead guilty before asking for a pardon.

8:04 GMT: All the opposition protesters detained during Wednesday’s rally have been freed, Moscow police say.

Friday, July 19

7:12 GMT: Navalny and his accomplice Ofitserov have been freed pending appeal on the condition they adhere to travel restrictions stipulated by the court. The judge also ruled that Navalny may run in the Moscow mayoral elections in spite of the charges set against him. Navalny told the court he had not yet decided whether he will participate in the September elections.

00:10 GMT: City workers have started to clean up the streets following a mass rally. Litter is everywhere after several thousand protested Navalny’s verdict.

Image from @MFinoshina_RT

23:38 GMT: Some 50 people have reportedly returned to Manezhnaya Square. In an effort to organize a larger crowd they are tweeting that it would actually be “much more fun” if there were several thousand of them.

22:45 GMT: 

22:27 GMT: With police having left Manezhnaya Square, protesters in Kitai-Gorod, where the police presence is still high, are considering returning there.

22:15 GMT: While about 100 people remain in Kitai-Gorod area, the majority of protesters have left the streets in anticipation of more rallies tomorrow, when the court is scheduled to consider the appeal to release Navalny and Ofitserov with restrictions on travel until the final verdict officially comes into effect.

Watch RT’s Maria Finoshina wrapping up the day of protests in Moscow.

Video: /files/news/1f/cc/b0/00/original_navalny-protest-finoshina.asf 

21:43 GMT: Several hundred people remain near the Memorial to the Heroes of Plevna in Kitai-Gorod. Tensions are high, but police are not trying to disperse the remaining crowd.

21:01 GMT: Police have detained several of the most vigorous protesters, calling on others to go home. The crowd was chanting “Do not disperse!”

20:51 GMT: Riot police have addressed the crowd in Kitay-Gorod telling them to stop the unsanctioned protest.

20:36 GMT: Police sources are saying at least 113 people have been detained across Moscow. Meanwhile activists on Twitter claim police have run out of space in prison trucks and call on everyone to join decentralized protest “promenades” in Moscow streets.

20:19 GMT: Several hundred people have marched towards Kitai-Gorod area of central Moscow.

20:10 GMT: Police have pushed protesters away from Manezhnaya square. 

19:50 GMT: In the city of St. Petersburg most of the 500 to 800 people who gathered in Malaya Sadovaya Street have dispersed due to torrential rain some three hours after the start of the unauthorized protest. However, around 100 people shouting slogans in support of Navalny have remained in the city’s central pedestrian street.

The city’s police have not initiated mass arrests, however, they have detained those shouting slogans and holding placards, according to Itar-Tass. A local deputy was detained along with some 60 protesters, but was soon released, the agency said.

Video of the protest in St. Petersburg: 

Video: /files/news/1f/cc/b0/00/original_st_petersburg_protest_navalny.mxf 

19:48 GMT: The protesters in Moscow have covered the entrance to Russia’s State Duma with anti-government and pro-Navalny stickers, also leaving several obscene inscriptions on the building’s walls.

19:24 GMT: The police have cleared the area near Moscow’s Hotel National, and have been pushing the protesters from the corner of State Duma building, RT’s Egor Piskunov reports from the scene.

19:21 GMT: After five hours of unauthorized peaceful protests crowds of Navalny supporters are still standing in Moscow’s central streets, occasionally clapping hands and shouting slogans. Some have brought flashlights, and vowed to continue protesting overnight.

Meanwhile, Team Navalny has called on people to bring water and food to the protesters and not to cease the action.

The police have cordoned off the thoroughfares to prevent protesters from blocking the traffic and have been detaining those trying to run into busy streets, as well as those holding banners. At least 60 activists have reportedly been detained in Moscow, according to journalists at the site.

19:17 GMT: There are lots of young people among the Navalny supporters protesting near Moscow’s Manezhnaya Square, RT’s Maria Finoshina reports from the scene. Some of them have pinned stickers reading “Change Russia – start with Moscow,” she said.

18:43 GMT: The police have separated protesters, but some Navalny supporters have organized chanting in synch across the street via mobile phone, RT’s Lucy Kafanov reports from Moscow's center.

Protesters have been chanting slogans like “Navalny is sitting [in jail] on our behalf,” “We won’t forgive we won’t forget,” “One for all and all for one,” and “Freedom!”

18:24 GMT: The US State Department said it was “very disappointed” with the Russian court’s verdict for Navalny and Ofitserov and expressed concerns over the “frightening tendency” for “politically motivated” cases in Russia.

17:45 GMT: Kirov’s Leninsky District Court had no grounds for changing Navalny’s and Ofitserov’s pre-trial restrictions from a travel ban to detention, the Prosecutor-General’s Office explained to Interfax. The prosecution earlier appealed the decision of the court. The court is to consider the appeal on Friday.

PHOTO: Thousands of protesters surrounding the Hotel National building in the center of Moscow near Manezhnaya Square.

17:30 GMT: At least 60 people have been detained near Manezhnaya Square at the unauthorized protest in support of Aleksey Navalny, Itar-Tass reports. Those detained have been loaded into police buses and taken away to police stations.

17:27 GMT:

PHOTO: Riot police formed a column in an attempt to block Mohovaya Street in the center of Moscow.

17:17 GMT:

The video shows central Manezhnaya Square and surrounding streets crowded with Navalny supporters.

17:05 GMT: Riot police have been dispatched to central Moscow as the protest continues. According to RT’s Egor Piskunov, several trucks filled with riot police have arrived on the scene.