Police violently arrest more than 500 peaceful protesters, journalists, and bystanders in Moscow
Update: At the close of June 12, OVD-Info reported that more than 500 people in total were arrested during that day’s protest in Moscow. This article has been edited to reflect that fact.
Moscow police have arrested more than 500 people during a Moscow march against fabricated criminal cases and in support of Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov, OVD-Info reported. Golunov was released yesterday after an unprecedented solidarity campaign to draw attention to false drug charges against him. Those arrested during today’s protest included a number of journalists from both Russian and foreign outlets as well as bystanders who did not take part in the event.
Protesters walked west from Chistye Prudy in the northeast part of the city’s downtown to the city’s police headquarters on Petrovka Street. The march did not receive approval from municipal authorities in advance. To disperse the crowd and make arrests, riot police used force, dragging members of the crowd to police vans.
Street sweeping vehicles also appeared on the scene to spray protesters with water hoses. The hoses also hit a number of police officers.
The television channel RTVi posted a video that showed riot police hitting one man’s head against an iron pole while dragging him to a police van. Police also used clubs to subdue demonstrators.
During the protest, Moscow police filed a report against opposition politician Alexey Navalny claiming he had organized the event. The organizers had in fact made their names public multiple times, and Navalny was not among them. The politician may face up to 30 days in jail. While many of those arrested in downtown Moscow were released without charges, others faced police reports or insistent (and illegal) demands that they provide their fingerprints to law enforcement officers.