Despite various bans issued by the Russian authorities, opposition protests led by Aleksei Navalny are taking place across Russia on Monday, June 12. Due to the bans issued for many of the planned demonstrations, Navalny has called on supporters to carry out their protests to coincide with Russia Day celebrations taking place on the same day. In Moscow, the protests are set to take place on Tverskaya Street from 11:00 (local time); protests elsewhere in the city cannot be ruled out.
Protests have already began in the far east of the country (as of Monday morning), where arrests have been reported, for example in Blagoveshchensk (at least four arrests). In Vladivostok, clashes between police and protesters, several hundred of which had gathered, have been reported, along with arrests.
According to Navalny, demonstrations are planned in at least 212 cities throughout Russia regardless of whether or not they are authorized. Clashes between protesters and police are likely.
Navalny is the main political opposition figure in Russia, gaining popularity after revealing proof of government corruption on his blog and criticizing President Vladimir Putin publicly after beginning a third term in 2012. He has announced that he intends to oppose Putin in the 2018 presidential elections.
Navalny and hundreds of other demonstrators were arrested in anti-corruption protests that brought tens of thousands of people to the streets of cities across Russia on March 26. These were the largest coordinated protests in Russia since 2012 and, in central Moscow alone, some 700 protesters were allegedly arrested for participating in the event. Navalny spent 15 days in prison following the protests. Police and military security personnel responded to the protests in Moscow and elsewhere with barricades and tear gas; some violent clashes between police and protestors were reported in the capital.
Individuals present in Russia are advised to avoid all demonstrations as violence can break out with little to no warning. Travelers should be aware that large public gatherings in Europe have been targeted by terrorist attacks in recent years; remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to the relevant authorities.
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