Hundreds arrested in Moscow protests over journalist's arrest

Nellie Chapman
June 14, 2019

More than 200 people were detained at the unauthorized protest, providing a harsh coda to the elation of journalists and other supporters of Ivan Golunov after Russia's interior minister announced the unprecedented move to drop the charges and seek punishment for the police officers involved. Rights activists say authorities routinely use trumped-up drugs, extremism and other charges to silence critics with jail sentences.

Police on Tuesday released reporter Ivan Golunov of the popular online news outlet Meduza, which is based in Latvia to avoid Kremlin pressure, in a rare retreat in the face of a public outcry.

Police officers detain a protester during a march in Moscow, Russia, June 12, 2019.

In the case of a not authorized demonstration of solidarity for the Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunow in Moscow, hundreds of people have been arrested.

Police had on last Thursday detained an investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, 36, popular for exposing corruption among Moscow officials and accused him of dealing drugs, which he flatly denied.

The ombudswoman also noted that President Vladimir Putin had been informed about all the details of the case and had given all necessary instructions.

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Reuters witnesses said well over 1,000 people marched through central Moscow, chanting "Russia will be free", "Russia without Putin" and "Down with the Tsar" as police warned them not to break the law and blocked access to certain streets.

Three of Russia's most respected newspapers published near-identical front pages Monday reading "I/we am/are Ivan Golunov". Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. Before Golunov's release 25,000 people had expressed interest in the solidarity march on Facebook.

Among the detainees are journalists from Medusa, Novaya Gazeta, Reuters, Kommersant, TV channel Dozhd, in addition to the leading Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Numerous protesters demanded the reform of Russia's law enforcement agencies and the release of detained victims of police.

Russian law requires protests to be approved by authorities in advance. Organizers of Wednesday's event had demanded that Moscow city officials negotiate those terms with them during a live broadcast, something officials refused to do.

"We came to show the authorities that we have consolidated, that we are united", said a protester known as Vsevolod, 24. "The freeing of Golunov was not a victory".

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