As the crowd in Moscow grows to an estimated 10-15,000 protesters chanting "No Putin, No War", Russia has unleashed police in riot gear, apparently fearful of the consequences of this 'unlawful' assembly. The massive crowd of protesters gathered in Moscow's Manezhka Square on Tuesday, following the guilty verdict of anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny, remain peaceful for now; but scuffles are breaking out and tensions are rising.
As Mashable reports,
Navalny, a leading foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was found guilty of fraud and given a suspended sentence of three and a half years on Tuesday, while his brother was sent straight to prison.
"The government isn't just trying to jail its political opponents — we're used to it; we're aware that they're doing it — but this time they're destroying and torturing the families of the people who oppose them," he said, calling for people to attend the protest on Tuesday evening.
Hours after the ruling, Navalny himself appeared alongside protesters at Moscow's Manezhka Square in defiance of a house arrest order — and was quickly detained by Russian authorities for breaking the terms. He was taken away in a bus and reportedly escorted back to his home.
Protesters chanted "Free Navalny! Free Russia!" and "Russia without Putin!" as he was carted away in a police bus.
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Happy new year from Moscow riot police pic.twitter.com/wXByTQ9W9I— Feldman (@EvgenyFeldman) December 30, 2014
shouts of “to red square” pic.twitter.com/q4pTGvQKDa— Ilya Mouzykantskii (@ilyamuz) December 30, 2014
Moscow right now. People chant: "Down with chekists... Putin huilo... No Putin - no war... Crimea is not ours." pic.twitter.com/YmGV3ZoKjv— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) December 30, 2014