Authorities have tried to prevent protests in advance. Students at St. Petersburg State University are threatened with dismissal for participating in the protest.
In Russia an opposition politician is promised Alexei Navalnyita supportive demonstrations on Saturday around the country.
In cities in the easternmost time zones, Navalny supporters have already launched their protests. For example, in Khabarovsk, Russia, in the Far East, a local took part in the protest news site according to 200-300 people. Police are said to have arrested at least ten people in the city.
Demonstrations have also taken place in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Vladivostok, Magadan and Amur’s Komsomolsk, among others. In all, at least 50 people have been arrested in more than a dozen cities, reports OVD info, which keeps track of the number of detainees in various demonstrations.
In Vladivostok, the protest was attended by, among others, a journalist and a Youtube star Yuri Dud. In October, he interviewed Navalny recovering from the poisoning in their program.
The demonstrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg are scheduled to begin at 1 pm Finnish time.
Also read the correspondent’s analysis: Why did Navalny have to return to Russia and how popular is he really?
Authorities consider the demonstrations unauthorized and have tried to curb them in advance. Several activists as well as Navalny’s allies have already been arrested. In addition, in St. Petersburg, for example, authorities have sought to prevent protests by appealing to young people’s parents and teachers.
Among other things, families have been encouraged to spend Saturday together at home. In some schools, teachers have been instructed to remind their students of the consequences of “bad behavior,” such as possible fines and criminal charges.
St. Petersburg State University has reported that participating in the protest could even lead to dismissal, says a St. Petersburg resident. Fontanka news site.
On social media, young supporters of Navalny in particular have expressed their support for him in advance. Authorities have tried to limit Navalny’s visibility by, among other things, closing the pages that spread the calls for demonstrations in the Russian Vkontakti, which is similar to Facebook.
In the telegram activists such as the democratic youth movement Vesna handed out detailed practical instructions to first-timers coming to the demonstration on Friday night. Among other things, they were educated that the risk of arrest with various signs, flags and megaphones is higher. Any arrest was advised to videotape.
Navalnyi, who recovered from the novitok poisoning in August, returned from Germany to Russia on Sunday. He was arrested immediately at the airport because Russian authorities believe he has violated the terms of his conditional sentence.
Navalnyi was sentenced to 30 days in prison on Monday in an expedited trial at a Moscow police station.