A series of peaceful, single-person demonstrations in support of arrested journalist and municipal deputy Ilya Azar took place in Moscow on May 28. Earlier that day, Azar was sentenced to 15 days administrative arrest. The court maintained that his peaceful, solo picket in support of “Police Ombudsman” administrator Vladimir Vorontsov constituted a repeated violation of the law on public demonstrations.
The protests took place outside the police headquarters on Petrovka Street in Moscow — law enforcement arrested multiple participants. There has been a total of eight known arrests, including Mediazona editor-in-chief Sergey Smirnov, Ekho Moskvy journalists Tatyana Felgenhauer and Alexander Plyushchev, Takie Dela editor-in-chief Anastasia Lotareva, as well as journalists Mikhail Fishman, Ilya Vasyunin, and Viktoria Ivleva, and writer Alisa Ganieva.
The detainees immediately received protocols on two counts: for violating the law on demonstrations and disobeying the self-isolation regime. Law enforcement released journalists Tatyana Felgenhauer and Alexander Plyushchev, but the other detainees are still being held at the police station. The Telegram channel “Apologiya Protesta” reports that the police are drawing up a protocol against editor Anastasia Lotareva, for repeatedly violating the law on holding demonstrations. Law enforcement are reportedly seeking to keep her at the station overnight.
Journalists were detained by police with the same badge numbers. Photographs from the scene show that two of the police officers were wearing badges with the number 010474 MKV, which is against the law. The press service for the Moscow police headquarters refused to give Meduza an official comment on the matter, promising that an explanation will soon be posted on the department’s website.
In St. Petersburg, several people held solo demonstrations near Gostiny Dvor on the city’s main thoroughfare, Nevsky Avenue. Three activists from the movement “Vesna” (translated as “Spring”) were arrested. According to Mediazona, law enforcement have arrested nine protesters in St. Petersburg, in total.
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Translation by Eilish Hart