Protest in Russia against the government and Navalny
Navalny is a lawyer-turned-activist and a strong critic of President Putin. He has millions of Russian followers on social media. He shot to fame when his blogs began exposing the corruption in the Russian government in the late 2000s. His protest against Putin has resulted in him getting arrested multiple times.
On August 20, 2020, Navalny became violently ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow. The plane made an emergency landing; Doctors said he was in a coma. Navalny's associates claimed he had been poisoned and pointed to previous attacks on the activist.
In the middle of January 2021, when he returned to Russia, he was immediately arrested. Russian court sentenced opposition politician Alexei Navalny to three and a half years in prison, defying condemnation abroad and public outcry at home to send one of the Kremlin’s (Putin’s) most vocal critics to jail. He had previously spent 10 months under house arrest during a previous phase of the trial.
Thousands of supporters of Navalny are protesting across the country for him to spend the next two years and eight months in a Russian penal colony. Protest coordinators planned rallies in at least 65 cities and towns. Many protestors including his wife and a close aide were detained.
According to BBC, Tik-Tok has played an important role for the protestors as numerous videos have been posted for supporting the planned protest and encouraging other people to come out and participate. Due to this, the internet service suffered an outage.
Police said that protest is illegal. Russian police forcibly, and at times brutally, dispersed peaceful protests, arbitrarily detaining more than 5,000 people across Russia. There were numerous reports of excessive use of force by police, including beatings, with many photographed or filmed by media outlets and private citizens and posted to social media. Although there were some incidents of protester violence, the vast majority of the protests were peaceful.
Several journalists were beaten arrested because of the posts on social media. The journalists have been receiving many threatening messages from many anonymous accounts on Telegram.
When one of the journalists from BBC spoke with a protestor, they told her that they (protestor) were not a fan or follower of Alexei Navalny, but they were shocked at how he has been treated. They described him as a symbol of resistance and talked of their desire for change. People opined that they don’t want to live in a country ruled by corruption.
In St. Petersburg, Mr. Putin's home city, a crowd gathered in a central square and chanted: "Down with the Tsar." or He is not our Tsar (it means that he i.e Putin is not our king )
Criminal cases have been launched against ordinary protesters, too—serious charges, including violence against police and hooliganism. But most of the people are not turning back, they are still protesting. They say that they are protesting as citizens of a country they want to enjoy and make themselves better.
All Russian citizens want is to live in a country where they can enjoy their liberty and express themselves without being brutally abused by police.