The detainees include correspondents and journalists from Meduza, Kommersant, and MediaZone.
People are being detained at rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg in support of opposition activist Alexei Navalny, who faces imprisonment upon his return to Russia. Radio Liberty broadcasts live from the rally in the capital.
According to OVD-Info, 300 protesters have already been detained in Moscow. There are reports of protesters clashing with riot police and beating protesters and journalists. Novaya Gazeta reporter Liza Kirpanova was among the injured. She was thrown to the ground along with several other protesters and started being beaten. Novaya Gazeta’s photographer was smashed up by police or Rosgvardia personnel.
“Meduza reports that during the rally on Pushkin Square, an OMON officer struck Kristina Safonova, the paper’s correspondent. He was wearing a vest with the inscription “Press”. According to Safonova, the riot policeman began hitting her because she was covering the protest rally.
Protesters initially gathered on Pushkin Square in the city center, but then many went to Manezhnaya Square near the Kremlin. The square was blocked by police.
Alexei Korostelyov, a Dozhd correspondent, was among those detained. Police raided an apartment near Pushkinskaya Square, where the TV channel was broadcasting from. Lawyer Lyubov Sobol of the Anti-Corruption Foundation and Alexei Navalny’s wife Yulia were also detained.
Estimates of the number of protesters at the mass rally in the city vary from the Interior Ministry’s estimation of 4,000 to 20,000.
More than 160 people were detained in St. Petersburg, including Mediazone correspondent David Frenkel, Meduza correspondent Alexandra Sivtsova, as well as Oleg Delimbetov and Marina Tsareva from the St. Petersburg office of Kommersant. The journalists were wearing press vests with insignia. That’s what the St. Petersburg editorial board of Sever. Realia reported, broadcasting the rally in St. Petersburg.
Protest rallies are held in other Russian cities. There have been clashes with riot police and mass arrests. Read more live news from the protest rallies on Radio Liberty’s online broadcast.
Earlier, police had preventively detained opposition activists and members of the regional headquarters of Navalny’s supporters. Social networks blocked some of the messages urging people to attend rallies or providing information about their locations. Authorities warned of liability for participants in unsanctioned events.