At least 212 people detained across Russia at Navalny rallies- report

At least 212 people were detained at events in Russia on Friday and Saturday in memory of Alexei Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most formidable domestic opponent, who died on Friday, according to rights group OVD-Info.

Navalny, a 47-year-old former lawyer, fell unconscious and died on Friday after a walk at the “Polar Wolf” Arctic penal colony where he was serving a three-decade sentence, authorities said.

Arrests across the country

OVD-Info, which reports on freedom of assembly in Russia, said more than 177 people in 21 cities across Russia had been detained at spontaneous rallies and vigils as of 1030 GMT on Saturday.

OVD-Info said that 99 people had been detained in St Petersburg and 11 in Moscow,the country’s two largest cities, where Navalny’s mostly educated and urban supporters had been concentrated.

People attend a memorial event, following the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in Vilnius, Lithuania February 16, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/JANIS LAIZANS)

The group also reported individual arrests in smaller cities across Russia, from the border city of Belgorod, where seven were killed in a Ukrainian missile strike on Thursday, to Vorkuta, an Arctic mining outpost once a center of the Stalin-era gulag labor camps.

“In each police department there may be more detainees than in the published lists,” OVD-Info said. “We publish only the names of those people about whom we have reliable knowledge and whose names we can publish.”

The hundreds of flowers and candles laid in Moscow on Friday to honor Navalny’s memory were mostly taken away overnight in black bags. Russians paying their respects spoke of their despair and apathy after Navalny’s death.

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