The Russian government, like its authoritarian counterparts, will crack down vigorously and harshly on those advocating for a free press. The mantra is, “Toe the party line or face severe consequences.”
Deutsche Welle 6.12.2019
Police warned that a march against alleged police framing of a journalist would be illegal. Protesters marched regardless and were met with a heavy response.
Investigative reporter Ivan Golunov was arrested last week on allegedly trumped-up drug charges, but in a rare U-turn by authorities he was released Tuesday following an unusually vocal backlash in Russia and internationally.
Golunov vowed to continue his investigative work into corruption and graft.
Despite his release, witnesses said more than 1,000 people marched through central Moscow Wednesday, calling for police involved in the Golunov incident to be punished and chanting “Russia will be free.”
Monitors in Moscow say more than 400 people have been detained in a crackdown on an unsanctioned march in response to the brief arrest of prominent reporter Ivan Golunov.
OVD-Info, a group which monitors arrests of opposition figures, said: “More than 400 people had been detained at the march.”
Police in Moscow had earlier put the number detained at 200 and said charges could result in 20 days in jail.
Among those arrested was Alexei Navalny, (pictured above), the most prominent political rival of President Vladimir Putin. Navalny was released after several hours in custody.
German news weekly Der Spiegel reported that one of its producers was also arrested, despite carrying appropriate permits.
Authorities had warned that the demonstration would be deemed illegal.
DW correspondent Emily Sherwin reported that a heavy police presence was in force to send a message.