Russian police have raided the Moscow office of opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a live online broadcast of the nationwide protests demanding fair presidential elections.
Roman Rubanov, director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning that the police accused one of the show presenters, Dimitry Nizovtsev, of having a bomb in his phone.
Ведущего Новостей Дмитрия обвиняют в заложении бомбы. pic.twitter.com/Hg8g3FEcIV
— Рубанов Роман (@rrubanov) January 28, 2018
The incident came after hundreds of Navalny supporters began a nationwide day of protests against authorities on Sunday, calling on voters to boycott what they said was a rigged presidential election on March 18.
According to Navalny’s regional manager in Ural, Siberia and Far Eastern regions, Oleg Snov, police came to the office in Barnaul city with a search warrant, seizing 86 leaflets along with some office equipment, but the rally went through as planned.
Ksenia Pakhomova, Navalny’s manager in Kemerovo region, wrote on Twitter that she was arrested an hour before the protest rally.
The protests were banned in Moscow and St Petersburg, but Navalny called on his supporters to defy the ban at 2pm local time (11:00 GMT).
|Navalny’s supporters hope the March election will be undermined by a low voter turnout [Reuters]|
President Vladimir Putin, in power as president or prime minister since 1999, is almost certain to win another six-year term as president on March 18.
Navalny’s supporters hope the election will be undermined by a low voter turnout.
Russian electoral authorities rejected Navalny’s candidacy because he was previously convicted of financial crimes, for which he received a suspended sentence.
Navalny has denied wrongdoing and condemned the charges as trumped up to thwart his political ambitions.
He has also been detained numerous times for violating rules against holding unsanctioned public gatherings.