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‘Freedom for Navalny!’ campaign sees more than 250,000 people register to protest

As of Thursday, March 25, more than 250,000 people across Russia have signed up to take part in a countrywide protest action demanding the release of imprisoned opposition politician Alexey Navalny. 

Navalny’s associates announced the new “Freedom for Navalny!” campaign and launched the dedicated website where would-be protesters can register to participate just two days ago. They have promised to hold a “fundamentally different rally that everyone will know about.” Navalny’s associates plan to announce the date of the rally once 500,000 people have joined the campaign. In the first seven hours, 100,000 people signed up to take part in the protests. 

Opposition demonstrations in support of Alexey Navalny took place across Russia in late January and early February. They began after the opposition figure was arrested upon returning to Russia from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a chemical nerve agent attack after an apparent attempt on his life in August 2020.

Navalny is now serving a 2.5-year prison sentence in Penal Colony No. 2 (IK-2) in the city of Pokrov in the Vladimir Region. On March 24, his lawyers reported that his health has deteriorated while in custody — Navalny has been experiencing pain in his back and numbness in one of his legs. The next day, the prison authorities announced that a medical examination found Navalny’s state of health “stable and satisfactory.” However, after meeting with Navalny, his lawyers said that he is in “severe pain.”

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