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RUSSIA: Amnesty demands immediate release of protesters arrested at Navalny rallies

Amnesty International is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the hundreds of protesters detained today in Moscow and other Russian cities.

Today’s arrests and violent dispersals were the latest crackdown by Russian authorities on overwhelmingly peaceful protesters demanding the release of Alexei Navalny. 

All instances of unlawful use of force by police must also be promptly and effectively investigated, said Amnesty.

Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty’s Moscow Office Director, said: 

“Russian authorities have arrested so many people in recent weeks that detention centres in Moscow have run out of space, and peaceful protesters are being held in deportation facilities. Trying to lock up every critic in the country is a losing game – the Russian authorities should instead recognise how much the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression mean to a growing number of Russians, and allow people to express their opinions without fear of retaliation. 

“The Kremlin is waging a war on the human rights of people in Russia, stifling protesters' calls for freedom and change. This is a desperate attempt to silence criticism, and it needs to stop.

“All peaceful protesters and activists detained for peacefully participating in protests are prisoners of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally. Police must stop using unlawful force and instead uphold their obligation to protect the human rights of Russian people.” 

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