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More than 200 people, including Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, were detained in an unauthorised rally organised in support of Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov, in Moscow on Wednesday.
According to Russia’s Interior Ministry, around 1,200 people participated in the unsanctioned demonstration.
Prior to the detentions, the police informed those who gathered at the rally that the march was not authorised, urging the protesters not to violate the law.
According to Moscow authorities, the unauthorised march posed a “security threat” to the public since the capital is holding events dedicated to the Russia Day, celebrated on June 12. An authorised rally is set take place on June 16.
Meduza journalist Golunov himself said he does not know much about the rally apart from the fact that it has not been sanctioned. He added that he thinks “it’s better to spend time with family and friends.”
Golunov was released from house arrest on Tuesday after drug trafficking charges against him were dropped due to lack of evidence.
Meduza’s Editor-in-Chief Ivan Kolpakov said on Wednesday that his outlet “are not activists and do not want to participate in resistance. That’s why we are not calling anyone to join the rally.”
Activists and journalists who initially organised and urged people to join the rally on June 12 subsequently announced that they are no longer “initiators of the march and do not see it possible to call people to join it.”
An investigative reporter for the independent Meduza news website, Golunov was arrested during a search in Moscow’s city centre on June 6 for allegedly carrying mephedrone. His arrest prompted a strong reaction from the journalistic community, celebrities and officials.
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