Russia arrests Navalny allies, assaults workplaces on the eve of protests

MOSCOW, April 20 (Reuters) – Russian police on Tuesday arrested a number of allies of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and raided two of its regional workplaces, a protest monitoring group stated, a day earlier than its supporters plan to prepare mass protests towards his deteriorating well being in jail. .

Navalny, 44, probably the most fervent critic of President Vladimir Putin, declared a starvation strike three weeks in the past to demand entry to higher medical care. He was transferred Sunday to a jail with a hospital. His supporters say they concern for his life.

The state jail service stated his situation was passable and that he had agreed to endure “vitamin remedy”. His allies say he nonetheless hasn’t acquired correct care and plan to take to the streets Wednesday night time in protest.

Authorities warned the protests had been unlawful, paving the best way for a confrontation and the potential for mass arrests. Police arrested 1000’s of individuals at rallies earlier this yr following Navalny’s imprisonment.

In Moscow, the mayor’s workplace stated the protest wouldn’t be allowed as a result of coronavirus pandemic. Town heart of Yekaterinburg within the Urals will likely be closed to site visitors from early within the night to rehearse a army parade, authorities stated.

Police raided regional workplaces in Navalny within the southern metropolis of Krasnodar and the central Chelyabinsk area, in accordance with OVD-Information, which screens protests and detentions of activists. 5 Navalny activists in numerous areas have been arrested on varied prices, he stated.

Navalny’s activist community faces rising strain. Moscow prosecutors on Friday stated they wished to label its regional teams and its anti-corruption basis “extremists,” a transfer that will basically ban their actions.

The West has demanded Navalny’s launch, and US President Joe Biden’s White Home stated on Monday that the Russian authorities can be held to account for his plight and that he ought to be handled humanely.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to touch upon Navalny, saying it was as much as the state jail service or the prosecutor’s workplace.

Navalny went on a starvation strike on March 31 resulting from what he stated was the refusal of the jail holding him to supply him with correct therapy for his leg and again ache. Russia says he acquired regular medical therapy like another convict.

Navalny’s allies stated medics and legal professionals arrived at Vladimir penal colony east of Moscow and requested to see him on Tuesday, however had been informed the ability’s director was not not accessible and so they waited for hours. (Reporting by Anton Zverev and Polina Nikolskaya; written by Tom Balmforth Modifying by Mark Trevelyan and Peter Graff)

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