More than 20 protesters arrested during second day of demonstrations in support of jailed journalist Ilya Azar
On May 29, single-person demonstrations resumed near the police headquarters in Moscow. Protesters demanded the release of jailed Novaya Gazeta journalist and municipal deputy Ilya Azar, as well as the activists arrested during the solidarity protests the day before.
Moscow City Duma Deputy Sergey Mitrokhin was arrested in the morning. The politician came to the picket, holding a sign that said “No to police repressions! Freedom for Ilya Azar!” — he was arrested within minutes, along with his assistant Maria Chuprina and activist Vadim Samukin.
Mass arrests began around three o’clock in the afternoon. Initially, police began loading protesters into a paddy wagon, primarily targeting those holding signs, but then began arresting people at the site of the event at random. Ekho Moskvy journalists Tatyana Felgenhauer and Alexander Plyushchev were detained for the second time in two days, despite the fact that they were not participating in the rally and showed the police their press cards (both journalists were arrested for taking part in solidarity protests the day before). At least 20 people were arrested in Moscow in total.
That morning, the Moscow City Court decided to release activist Viktor Nemytov, whose arrest on May 26 sparked Azar’s initial protest. Azar was sentenced to 15 days administrative arrest for holding a solo picket in support of Nemytov, as well as “Police Ombudsman” administrator Vladimir Vorontsov. The Moscow court reduced the charges against Nemytov, who was arrested on May 26 for violating the law on demonstrations. Instead, he was charged with failing to comply with the rules of conduct during an emergency situation, and fined 20,000 rubles (approximately $283). He was released upon paying the fine. Azar himself is now set to have an appeals hearing on June 1, but Moscow’s municipal deputies are demanding that the court date be changed to Saturday, May 30th — and are threatening to hold more demonstrations.
Translation by Eilish Hart