Immediately after a Moscow court sentenced Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny to two years and eight months in prison on Tuesday, February 2, his supporters called on protesters to gather on Manezhnaya Square — a pedestrian space in the downtown that connects to Red Square.
Even before the verdict was announced, reports emerged that Red Square had been cordoned off and that riot police were on duty in the area.
Riot police were also stationed on Manezhnaya Square, blocking the entrance to Red Square. The underground passages leading to Manezhnaya Square have been closed, as well.
Several nearby subway stations have also been closed until further notice, at the request of police.
Around 9:30 p.m. Moscow time, Meduza’s correspondent reported that a few dozen people had started to gather across from Manezhnaya Square on Mokhovaya Street. The police immediately began ordering the crowd to disperse, despite the fact that no one was carrying posters or shouting protest slogans.
Shortly afterwards, police officers began detaining people in the area (as shown in the video below).
Update. According to MBX Media, at least seven people have already been detained.
On Tuesday, Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court sentenced Alexey Navalny to 3.5 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation in the Yves Rocher case. Pending appellate rulings, he will spend the next 2 years and eight months in prison due to time previously served under house arrest.
After the hearing, Navalny’s lawyer Olga Mikhailova told Interfax that his defense team intends to challenge the verdict and seek Navalny’s release. “And we will turn to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in connection with the non-fulfilment of the European Court’s ruling [in the Yves Rocher case],” Mikhailova said.