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Thousands protest in Moscow after Navalny verdict

Posted January. 01, 2015 06:04,   


A rally broke out in Moscow, Russia to protest the conviction of Alexei Navalny, 38, a leading anti-government activist. Attention is focusing on whether this will spark intensifying protest rallies against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the Itar Tass news agency and other sources, more than 2,000 citizens gathered at the Manezhnaya Square near the Kremlin Palace in Moscow and staged protest a rally, braving the freezing weather of below minus 10 degrees Celsius around 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Supporters of Navalny at the square chanted slogans, including “Putin is a thief. Out the police state.” Police countered the protest, saying, “Unauthorized protest rally is illegal. You must disperse now,” and broke up the protestors in about two hours by conducting a suppression operation. The operation left more than 170 people arrested.

Protesters rallied against the conviction for the embezzlement charges of Navalny, who has been spearheading an anti-government campaign against President Putin. Moscow’s Zamoskvorechye court on the day handed down three years and six months in prison with a stay of execution for three years and six months to Navalny, who had been indicted for embezzling 31 million rubles (approx. 550,000 U.S. dollars) from French cosmetics company Yves Rocher`s Russian branch office. Oleg Navalny, Alexei Navalny’s younger brother who was indicted for the same charge, was handed three years and six months in prison.