Putin Opponents Mount Protests on Eve of Inauguration


President Vladimir Putin faced protests two days before his inauguration for a record fourth term as his opponents called for Russians to take to the streets to denounce his two-decade-old rule.

Opposition leader Alexey Navalny urged supporters to join unauthorized rallies in about 90 cities against corruption and censorship under the slogan “He’s not our Tsar.” The day before the planned protests, police launched a crackdown, detaining activists in at least half a dozen cities, including the president’s hometown of St. Petersburg, Interfax reported.

Photogrpaher: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

Putin, 65, won a record 77 percent of the vote in March’s presidential election, amid complaints from critics of ballot stuffing and an absence of genuine competition. But with neighboring Armenia offering an example of the potential threat from street protests, Russian authorities aren’t taking any chances. Navalny, who was barred from running against Putin in the election, was detained by police moments after he arrived at his last opposition rally in January.

The prosecutor’s office for central Moscow warned that Navalny and any other participants in the unauthorized demonstration would “face the consequences under the law of the Russian Federation,” according to a website statement.

Protests

Police detained protesters at demonstrations around the country, including 75 people in Yakutsk and local organizers in Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk and Barnaul, according to the Meduza news website.

The unrest Saturday comes less than a week after tens of thousands came out on May 1 to protest restrictions on the Internet after the authorities started trying to block the popular messaging App Telegram. Navalny addressed that rally in Moscow.



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