(STL.News) More than 1,000 protesters were detained in St. Petersburg on Sunday as thousands gathered for a rally in support. Riot police were seen using batons and electric shockers against protesters. Some of the protesters threw snowballs at police.
Navalny had called on his supporters to protest after he was arrested last weekend as he returned to Russia from Germany for the first time since being poisoned with a nerve agent he says was slipped to him by state security agents in August.
The authorities had warned people to stay away from Saturday’s demonstrations, saying they risked catching COVID-19 as well as prosecution and possible jail time for attending an unauthorized event.
But protesters defied the ban and, in at least one case in temperatures below -50 C, turned out in force. Leonid Volkov, a Navalny ally, called on them to do the same next weekend to try to free Navalny from what he called “the clutches of his killers.”
Protests, and riots are becoming the “new norm” as educators, medical professionals and governments have failed to protect citizens creating an overwhelming amount of unrest. The virus has exposed social weakness, political corruption and educational failures.