Pro-Navalny protests asking his release, across Russia

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Pro-Navalny protests and wave of anger rolls across Russia. More than 2,100 people, including Navalny’s wife, were arrested. A video shows Navalnaya being stopped by police at the entrance to a metro station in central Moscow near where protesters were gathered. She is then shown being escorted to a police van. She was released from detention later on Saturday, according to a tweet from Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. Navalny is currently held in pre-trial custody and the protesters were demanding his release. The demonstrations kicked off in Russia’s far east city of Vladivostok and spread to the west as the day progressed. People protested even on the city of Yakutsk, at -53 degrees Celsius (- 63 Fahrenheit) on Saturday. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs said about 4,000 people gathered for a protest in Moscow. The demonstrations have not received an official government permit. Under Russian law, an official appeal for approval of a protest has to be made to local authorities at least 10 days before the event.

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The Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs has accused the United States of encouraging the protests after the US Embassy in Russia posted an alert on its website advising US citizens to avoid the demonstrations. Russian internet regulator said Thursday it was planning to fine major social networks, including Twitter, Facebook and TikTok, for “spreading information prohibited by law and aimed at attracting minors to participate in unauthorized mass public events.” The European Union High Representative Josep Borrell condemned the “widespread detentions, disproportionate use of force” by Russian authorities in Saturday’s protests and said he would discuss the “next steps” with EU foreign ministers on Monday.