US calls on Russia to end persecution of independent voices amid mass arrests in Moscow

ANI
·1-min read
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Washington [US], March 14 (ANI): The United States has called on Russia to release about 200 opposition activists who were detained in Moscow on Saturday.

About 200 opposition activists were detained in Moscow on Saturday, according to a statement from Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs. The detentions are the latest in a series of crackdowns sustained by members of the opposition following Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny's arrest and imprisonment.

Taking to Twitter, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken call for an end to the "persecution of independent voices."

"Today, the Russian government detained almost 200 municipal leaders and politicians, including political activists Vladimir Kara-Murza and Yuliya Galyamina, on dubious grounds. We call for an end to the persecution of independent voices," Blinken wrote in a tweet.

CNN reported that on Saturday, municipal deputies from Russia's regions gathered in the Russian capital to discuss parliamentary and local elections -- which are scheduled for September -- at a forum held by United Democrats, a project aimed at supporting competitive election, according to their website.

On February 2, a Moscow court substituted Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny's suspended sentence in corruption case with a real prison term of 3.5 years for multiple violations of his probation terms. A Moscow city court reinstated the ruling but reduced the sentence to 2.5 years.

For months, opposition activists have been met with a harsh show of force, demonstrated most clearly on January 31, when over 5,000 people were detained during nationwide protests in 85 cities in support of Navalny.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs said that "checks are being conducted" on the activists detained on Saturday, and that "a decision will be undertaken in compliance with the law." (ANI)