31 detained at unsanctioned rally in center of Moscow
Police have detained 31 participants of one of two unsanctioned rallies that are taking place simultaneously in the center of Moscow. All of the main Russian opposition figures have distanced themselves from the events.
Several dozen people have gathered at two locations in central Moscow – Manezhnaya Square and Triumfalnaya Square. It is at the second location that the detentions were made, according to a Russian Interior Ministry statement.
Police blocking street, trying to split crowd along tverskaya pic.twitter.com/fM8ZOJpcvt— Noah Sneider (@NoahSneider) April 2, 2017
Video from RT’s Ruptly shows people being detained at Moscow’s Manezhnaya Square. Police have yet to comment on the detentions there.
Police presence is heightened at both locations. Officers are calling on passersby not to take part in the unsanctioned rally.
Spent few hours at expected Moscow opposition protest. More press, bloggers, plainclothes police than protestors. Unclear who organizers are pic.twitter.com/0Vp5mOSgwo— Daniel Hawkins (@DanhawkinsDh) April 2, 2017
RT’s Daniel Hawkins, who has spent a few hours at Manezhnaya Square, tweets from the scene that there are “more press, bloggers, plainclothes police than protestors” there.
A few interviews and passionate debates from random passers by. Like a Moscow version of Hyde Park Corner. Bloggers all over it. pic.twitter.com/upFHcuiT57— Daniel Hawkins (@DanhawkinsDh) April 2, 2017
All of the main opposition figures, including the key organizer of last week’s mass protest, Aleksey Navalny, have denied any connection to the events.
The rally оn Red Square was announced via Russian social network Vkontakte. The page of the event, calling for “system change in the country,” has been already removed, but can be viewed in Google Cache.
Around 1,800 people confirmed their intention to come, judging from the Vkontakte page, but there are doubts whether they are all real people. The demonstration was arranged by a person named Viktoriya Potapova, and her page has been removed and is now no longer available.