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23 Apr, 2021 13:37

Jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny announces end to hunger strike after seeing private doctors ahead of unauthorized protests

Jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny announces end to hunger strike after seeing private doctors ahead of unauthorized protests

Prominent anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny has told supporters that he will call an end to a weeks-long hunger strike, after prison officials arranged for him to be examined by private doctors for his back and leg pain.

In a statement posted to Instagram through his lawyers on Friday, the activist thanked “the great support of good people all over the country and the world who have helped make enormous progress” in improving his treatment. At the same time, he confirmed that he had been seen twice by doctors outside of the prison service for tests. The most recent appointment, Navalny said, was on Wednesday, before planned protests were due to start.

Unauthorized rallies were held in cities across Russia throughout that day, called because of concerns for the activist’s health. The news that he had been granted access to private physicians was apparently not made public until after they had taken place. While some limited clashes emerged between demonstrators and police, particularly in St. Petersburg where hundreds were detained, there appeared to be no repeat of the widespread arrests that defined similar events held in January when Navalny was first arrested. Mass gatherings without permission from authorities are banned under Covid-19 prevention laws.

Also on rt.com Isolated clashes between police & protesters across Russia as pro-Navalny rallies attract smaller crowds than organizers hoped for

The size of the crowds taking to the street were also smaller and, despite attracting over 466,000 pledges to attend online, far fewer actually turned out for the marches with numbers in the tens, rather than hundreds, of thousands.

Ahead of the protests, Russia’s human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, told journalists that, the day before, Navalny “was visited by civilian doctors, four doctors who examined his state of health.” She said that the clinicians were giving Navalny, “voluntarily and with his consent, medical drips consisting of nutritional fluids.” In addition, the watchdog added, “according to the information I am receiving, he is receiving all the care that he needs according to the doctors’ opinion.” “So far, I have found no serious concerns in this analysis on the part of the authorities.”

Navalny had been moved on Monday to a specialist hospital for convicted prisoners. A group of medics linked to his campaign group, the Anti-Corruption Fund, listed by the Russian Ministry of Justice as a foreign agent over its funding from abroad, claimed that the activist’s most recent lab tests were “negative” and could lead to organ failure. However, in an Instagram post earlier this week, Navalny insisted he was not in a grave state, and said that hunger was not a serious problem compared to his alleged poisoning by Novichok. He and his allies claim he was targeted with the nerve agent last year in what they describe as a state-sponsored assassination attempt.

Also on rt.com Navalny already seen by four doctors & not at serious risk, Russian human rights chief says as activist’s allies protest jailing

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