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    NewsRussiaRussian police arrest about 200 independent councilors

    Russian police arrest about 200 independent councilors

    Russian police on Saturday arrested some 200 participants of a forum of independent municipal councilors in Moscow, in an action that is part of a wide-ranging crackdown by the authorities on dissent.

    Officers arrived at the meeting shortly after it began, saying that those present would be detained for participating in an event organized by an undesirable organization. A police officer leading the raid said the detainees would be taken to police stations and charged with administrative violations.

    Moscow police said in a statement that they proceeded to hinder the meeting because it violated coronavirus pandemic restrictions and that many participants were not wearing masks. It said it detained about 200 participants, some of whom were members of an undesirable organization it did not specify.

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    OVD-Info, an independent group that monitors arrests and political repression, published a list of more than 170 detainees. Among them were Ilya Yashin, an opposition politician who heads one of Moscow’s municipal districts; former Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Roizman; and Moscow councilwoman Yulia Galyamina.

    Their aim was to scare people away from participating in politics, Andrei Pivovarov, a politician who helped organize the forum, said in a video from a police van.

    Pivovarov has played a major role in Open Russia, a group founded by self-exiled billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky moved to London after spending 10 years in prison in Russia on charges that many see as political payback for questioning President Vladimir Putin’s government.

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    A law enacted in 2015 criminalized membership in undesirable organizations. The government has used the law to ban some 30 groups, including Open Russia.

    A previous law forced nongovernmental organizations that received foreign funding and engaged in political activities to register as foreign agents.

    Richard Ferdinand
    Richard Ferdinand
    Richard Ferdinand is an aspiring Journalist, Explorer, Adventure Loving and Blogger. You can contact him via [email protected]

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