Home / BBC News / Russian authorities detain dozens at anti-Putin rallies

Russian authorities detain dozens at anti-Putin rallies

Officers from the Russian interior ministry detain a protester in St Petersburg, April 29, 2017.Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Officers from the Russian interior ministry detained protesters in St Petersburg

Russian authorities have detained dozens of protesters at rallies demanding that President Vladimir Putin should not seek re-election next year.

At least 30 people were reported to have been held in St Petersburg and more than 16 in the southern city of Kemerovo.

Activists in some other cities were kept away from protests, reports said.

President Putin has not confirmed that he will run in March 2018 but he is widely expected to do so.

The rallies – held under the slogan “We’re sick of him” – were organised by the Open Russia movement founded by former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Mr Khodorkovsky, a fierce critic of President Putin, lives in exile after spending 10 years in a Siberian prison on fraud charges, which he says were politically motivated.

Protesters also held an unauthorised rally in central Moscow on Saturday, but the presidential reception office, to which they planned to submit letters, was blocked off.

A journalist with AFP news agency in St Petersburg said about 200 people had gathered for the rally and at least 30 protesters were taken away by authorities.

Open Russia put the figure at about 50 people while OVD-Info, which monitors the detentions of political activists, said more than 125 had been detained. Police did not release official figures.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Police were out in force for the rally in Moscow

“Putin is an usurper. He has to finally go. We’re sick of him,” said one protester in St Petersburg, quoted by AFP.

“Everything is bad. Education, health – everything has been destroyed. I want changes,” said another.

The protests come days after Russia opposition leader Alexei Navalny was taken to hospital when a green antiseptic solution was splashed in his face.

Mr Navalny is one of Russia’s foremost critics of President Putin and has announced his intention to run for president himself.

However, a conviction for embezzlement – which he denies – would bar him from running for office.

Mr Putin has been a dominant political figure in Russia since his election as president in 2000.

He served two terms and then a four-year stint as prime minister, before resuming the presidency in 2012.

Check Also

New York bombing suspect Akayed Ullah warned Trump on Facebook

Image copyright CBS Image caption Akayed Ullah emigrated to the US with his family in …

Alabama Senate race: Trump candidate under spotlight as state votes

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The race between Doug Jones (left) and Roy Moore …

Alabama Senate race: Trump records message for Roy Moore

Image copyright Getty Image caption Roy Moore’s campaign has been rocked by allegations US President …

New York Port Authority attack: Man held after Manhattan blast

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe blast hit during New York’s rush-hour …

California’s Thomas Fire scorches area larger than New York City

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe Thomas fire has the potential to …