Published: Fri, June 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Russian police detain at least 94 at Moscow journalist protest

Russian police detain at least 94 at Moscow journalist protest

Russian police said they had detained more than 200 people on Wednesday (June 12), including opposition politician Alexei Navalny, at a protest in Moscow calling for punishment of police officers involved in the alleged framing of a journalist.

Choking back tears, he said he hoped other journalists would not have to undergo similar ordeals and that the investigation into the police officers and others who framed him would continue.

Hundreds have been detained in Moscow during a protest inspired by baseless drug charges brought against a journalist who investigated high-level corruption.

Wednesday's march was initially called to press for the release of Golunov who was then suddenly freed, with the charges against him dropped, on the eve of the rally following several days of public outrage.

But the crude way supporters said Golunov was set up and detained triggered an unusual show of media unity and an uncharacteristically swift response from authorities nervous about social unrest at a time when President Vladimir Putin already faces disquiet over living standards.

Before the police backed down, almost 25,000 people had signed up to a Facebook page expressing their intention to take part in a protest march on Wednesday in solidarity with Golunov.

OVD Info, which tracks arrests, said more than 400 people were detained.

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Information quickly surfaced indicating Moscow police acted based on falsified evidence and sham allegations.

Three of Russia's most respected newspapers Monday published near-identical front pages Monday reading "I/we am/are Ivan Golunov". Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

Krivosheev also called on authorities "to immediately and unconditionally release the protestors arrested today". Some of the protesters wore T-shirts in support of Golunov.

"I'm loving the view", Navalny wrote in an Instagram post that included a photo of demonstrators taken from the barred window of a van where he was being held by police. Russian Federation must keep when dealing with protests to human rights standards, said Dunja Mijatovic.

After Golunov's release many said they would not march and some expressed anger over raging divisions, saying the authorities had once again managed to split dissenting Russians.

Golunov's case has also sparked debates over the need to reform the law on drug possession in Russian Federation, which, critics, say, have been used to silence opposition figures and truth-seeking journalists.

The authorities had warned protesters that their demonstration would be illegal and could pose a risk to public safety.

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