24/1/2021–|Last updated: 1/24/202102:54 PM (Makkah)
Al-Jazeera correspondent in Moscow reported that the Russian police released most of those arrested in the demonstrations on Saturday, which took place in more than 60 Russian cities, in protest against the arrest of the opposition Alexei Navalny, while the American ambassador to Russia is waiting to be summoned to provide an explanation about what Moscow says is US support For demonstrations.
The Russian authorities charged the administrative detainees with wrongdoing due to unauthorized demonstrations, and the Public Prosecution Office also opened 3 criminal cases against some demonstrators accused of assaulting security personnel during the demonstrations.
The largest demonstrations took place in the Russian capital, Moscow, and the second largest city in the country, Saint Petersburg, with about 20,000 people participating in each, according to Agence France-Presse. Dozens of other cities also witnessed similar protests.
It is expected that the US ambassador to Moscow will be summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry in the coming hours to provide clarification on what Moscow says is Washington’s support for the unauthorized demonstrations that Russia has witnessed.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the US embassy in Moscow would have to explain why it had published maps of protesters ’movements in Russian cities on the eve of the demonstrations.
Zakharova wondered whether this step was an instruction provided to the protesters from the embassy, data that even the organizers of the protests did not disclose, according to her saying.
Zakharova said that if the Russian embassy in Washington had published maps of the American protesters’ movements towards the Capitol, it would have caused anti-Russian hysteria.
For its part, the US State Department called on the Russian authorities to release all those detained for exercising their global rights, and for the immediate and unconditional release of Navalny.
The Foreign Ministry urged Russia to fully cooperate with the international investigation into the poisoning of Navalny, and it strongly condemned the use of what it described as violent tactics against demonstrators and journalists in Russia.
The ministry considered that the Russian government seeks to suppress the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, threaten social media platforms, and preemptively arrest potential participants.
Support of the demonstrators
In turn, Adam Schiff, head of the intelligence committee in the US House of Representatives, said that he stands with the Russian protesters, and that the United States and the world should stand with them.
Schiff added in a tweet on Twitter that the Russians are taking to the streets in the bitter cold to peacefully demand freedom and human rights for all their citizens, an end to corruption, and the immediate release of Navalny.
In the same context, the Canadian Foreign Ministry said in a tweet on Twitter that “Canada is deeply concerned about the arrest of demonstrators and media workers in the wake of the peaceful protests in Russia.” “We urge the Russian authorities to respect human rights and immediately release the arrested persons,” she added.
Navalny, 44, a lawyer, called his supporters to protest after his arrest early last week upon his return to Moscow for the first time after a treatment trip in Germany, after he was poisoned with a nerve gas last August.
It is noteworthy that these protests come months before the upcoming legislative elections in the fall against the background of the decline in the popularity of the ruling party “United Russia”, the largest demonstrations since those organized by Navalny during the summer of 2019 in Moscow on the sidelines of local elections.