by Tony Iozzo
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe
MOSCOW, Russia – Alexei Navalny was briefly detained by police on Sunday after holding a rally for his supporters in Sokolniki Park in Moscow.
Navalny, an opposition candidate in Moscow’s mayoral race, was arrested for alleged violations on the law of mass demonstrations.
A police spokesman stated that Navalny was “invited to a police department for a conversation in connection with violations” made during his rally.
Navalny, a starch opponent of President Vladimir Putin, is a notorious whistle-blowing blogger who gained fame in 2011 after leading a massive protest against President Putin during the winter of 2011. In a widely surprising move, Navalny was allowed to run for mayor after a court sentenced him to five years in prison last month for embezzlement charges that were believed to be politically motivated. Navalny was promptly released pending an appeal.
A YouTube video posted by Navalny’s campaigners shows two-dozen police officers sifting through the rally crowd, and Navalny can be heard telling the crowd to “go home” as he is escorted off the stage by officers. Navalny stated that he was taken to Northeastern Moscow in a police van and later released after an officer stated that “nobody detained him.”
About ten other individuals were also detained at the rally for “hooliganism” but were later released as well.
The Moscow Electoral Commission issued Navalny a verbal warning last Friday, accusing him of illegally distributing campaign literature. The Commission said it would soon discuss the violations of Navalny’s campaign.
His rival, incumbent mayor Sergey Sobyanin, is a pro- Kremlin politician who is considered the favorite to win the election next month.
“Opinion polls show that I have every chance to get into a second round and win. They will do everything to stop this scenario,” stated Navalny.
For more information, please see:
The Moscow Times – Navalny Briefly ‘Invited’ to Police Station After Rally – 26 August 2013
Al Jazeera – Russian Opposition Leader Briefly Detained – 25 August 2013
France 24 – Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Briefly Detained by Police – 25 August 2013
The Telegraph – Alexei Navalny Temporarily Detained After Campaign Rally in Moscow – 25 August 2013