Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Hundreds detained in Moscow at unsanctioned rallies over Bolotnaya sentences

Published time: February 24, 2014 19:23
Policemen detain a participant in a protest action of supporters of the persons involved in the Bolotnaya Square case in Manezhnaya Square. (RIA Novosti/Sergey Kuznecov)

Policemen detain a participant in a protest action of supporters of the persons involved in the Bolotnaya Square case in Manezhnaya Square. (RIA Novosti/Sergey Kuznecov)

Over 400 people were briefly detained in Moscow on Monday while taking part in an unsanctioned rally to protest prison terms for eight activists in the Bolotnaya case. They were found guilty of instigating riots and attacking police during a 2012 protest.

The verdict of a Moscow court – which included jail terms ranging from two and a half years to four years and one suspended prison term – prompted hundreds of people to protest the ruling in the city center.

The main rallying spots were Manezhnaya Square, located just outside the Kremlin – which police cordoned off after demonstrators announced plans to hold a rally there – and nearby Tverskaya Street.

According to police estimates, a total of 500 people gathered at both locations. Nearly 420 people were arrested, including public figures.

Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov posted on his Twitter page that he was placed in a police van with 22 other demonstrators.

“Protesters ignored police force’s demands to stop attempts to breach public order,” a local Interim Ministry spokesman told ITAR-TASS news agency, meaning that the mass gathering was not sanctioned by Moscow officials in advance.

All of those detained were brought to police stations in central Moscow and most were released, according to media reports. However, police later said that those detained are to be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

Some of the activists, including recently released members of protest punk band Pussy Riot – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina – and opposition politician Aleksey Navalny were arrested twice on Monday.

Police officers detain Nadezhda Tolokonnikova near Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky Court (RIA Novosti/Alexsey Nichukchin)

The first arrest was in the morning, outside the court building where the sentences were read out. A total of over 200 people were detained there for "attempts to breach public order," as their protest was also unauthorized.

Most of the detained were released after receiving administrative fines for breaching public order and violating traffic rules. Upon being released, Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina, and Navalny joined the rally in central Moscow, only to once again be delivered to a police station.

Police detain opposition leader Aleksey Navalny outside a courthouse in Moscow February 24, 2014. (Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)

The Bolotnaya Square case has sparked controversy across the country, with thousands of people demanding the release of those arrested on May 6, 2012, claiming they were innocent.

Criminal proceedings against 28 people were launched in the aftermath of the rally on Bolotnaya Square, which took place one day before Vladimir Putin’s inauguration as president.

They were accused of instigating riots and attacking police. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office estimated that 82 police officers were injured as a result of the Bolotnaya clashes, and the total damage to property has been estimated at over 28 million rubles (US$900,000).

Police officers detain protesters outside Zamoskvoretsky district court in Moscow, on February 24, 2014 (AFP Photo/Vasily Maximov)

Eleven of the suspects were released after Putin signed an amnesty bill to mark the 20th anniversary of the country’s constitution in December. Prior to the Monday sentencing, two of those rioters had already been sentenced – one to 2.5 years behind bars, and the other 4.5 years. Another was sent for compulsory mental treatment.

Police officers detain protesters outside Zamoskvoretsky district court in Moscow, on February 24, 2014 (AFP Photo/Vasily Maximov)

Police detain an opposition supporter outside Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky Court where the verdict is to be announced in the Bolotnaya Square case involving mass riots in Moscow on May 6 2012. (RIA Novosti/Aleksey Nichukchin)

Comments (28)

 

David Rog 09.03.2014 05:22

What needs to be understood is groups like PR Riot do not want to find some common ground where they can work with the government on they seek to destroy it. On a main PR Riot site when asked if they would bring on Nadia and Masha to take questions from people they just call you names and condem you saying your working for Putin. When you ask why dont they work with United Russia on projects that they would work with them on they just continue to condem you. There are all kinds of ways these groups could work with the Russian government. No one can please them they could move Russia to 90s chaos if left unchallanged.

 

matteo bojanovich 03.03.2014 05:24

Arresting your enemies for assembling is wrong and stupid.

I am not talking of assembling in the cathedral and disrupting services, I am talking of assembling in a public place.

 

Lu Sun Chin 02.03.2014 03:52

Overall, 27 people were arrested and accused, four of them women. Currently, one of the accused has committed suicide, two were convicted, eighteen are kept under arrest, six are awaiting trial in Russia, and one escaped abroad.

View all comments (28)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us