Dozens arrested after an opposition protest in St Petersburg

(Photo credit: David Frenkel)

An estimated number ranging between 30 to 50 protesters were detained on Sunday by the police during an opposition march in the city centre

On Sunday 16 April, a group of dozens of protesters gathered near the Gostiny Dvor metro station and marched along Nevsky Prospect towards Palace Square. Activists claim that they did not chant or carry posters with slogans.

According to Konstantin Kaznin, one of the protesters, the march took place to protest against the “corrupt regime.” Once at Palace Square, the demonstrators were already awaited by the police.

According to the leader of the New Opposition’s Walks movement, Alexander Rastorguev, about 40 people were detained. Photojournalist David Frenkel, who was present at the scene, told Prospekt Magazine of 28 detained protesters and one woman who was detained but released shortly after.

Yet, the exact number of detainees remains unclear. According to OVD Info, a website that monitors the detention of activists in St Petersburg, between 16 and 17 people were taken to the police department number one, six people to the department number 28, five – to the department number 71. According to Kaznin, protesters are still being released.

Opposition marches are traditionally held every Sunday in Moscow and St Petersburg. A similar opposition march had been held at the same time in Moscow but did not result in any detention. “My friends and I go for walks every week since October last year. Usually under the strict surveillance of the police,” Alexander Rastorguev told Interfax.

The organiser of the march, Alexander Rastorguev, stressed that the march was not meant as an action in support of Vyacheslav Maltsev.

Earlier this week, on Thursday, the houses of two organisers of the anti-Kremlin vlog Artpodgotovka were raided. One of them, Vyacheslav Maltsev, reportedly suffered a heart attack after police sawed through his apartment door in Saratov and arrested him in front of his family. According to TASS, Maltsev is suspected of attacking a state employee during the anti-corruption demonstration held in Moscow on 26 March.

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