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Russian Attorney General’s Office issues official warning about participation in unauthorized protests

The Russian Attorney General’s Office has issued an official warning ahead of this week’s planned protest action in support of jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny.

“In connection with the dissemination on the Internet of appeals to an indeterminate circle of persons to participate in unsanctioned, mass protests, as well as the appearance of extremist appeals from organizations against which on 16.04.2021 the Moscow prosecutor’s office filed a lawsuit on designating them extremist (the FBK [Anti-Corruption Foundation], FZPG [Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation], and Navalny Headquarters), the Russian Attorney General’s Office considers it necessary to warn individuals and legal entities about the inadmissibility of violating the law.” 

The statement reminds that law enforcement will consider calls for unauthorized rallies an administrative offense, while calls for riots or participation in riots will be considered criminal offenses.

In a separate warning, the Attorney General’s Office reminds IT companies that they can face administrative penalties for failing to remove social media content calling for involvement in illegal protest actions. 

Earlier in the day on Monday, April 19, the Russian Interior Ministry issued an official statement urging residents of Russia’s regions not to take part in the unauthorized rallies, or visit the streets and squares that have been declared the locations of the planned protests. The ministry warned that crowded places carry an increased risk of the spread of COVID-19, and said that they aren’t ruling out the possibility of “provocations by destructive persons, aimed at disrupting public order.” “Offenders will be detained and held accountable as prescribed by law,” the statement said.

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