IN PICTURES: Violent repression of protests in Russia for the liberation of Navalni

Massive protests in support of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalni have turned Russia around for the second weekend in a row. According to OVD-Info, an NGO that monitors the political situation in Russia, the police have so far detained more than 5,000 people. The largest demonstrations took place in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but there were also protests in other Russian cities.

The security forces have used force against the protesters: in addition to the batons, some officers have used electric guns, which has received the unanimous condemnation of the United States and the European Union.

“Today I again condemn the mass arrests and the disproportionate use of force against protesters and journalists in Russia”, declared the EU High Representative, Josep Borrell. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced the Kremlin’s “brutal tactics” against the protesters and, in response, the Moscow Foreign Ministry accused them of “serious interference” in Russia’s internal affairs.

The vice president of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, described the opposition Alexei Navalni as a “political rogue” whose attempts to come to power are increasingly “cynical and unscrupulous.”

On Tuesday, February 2, a new demonstration is scheduled on the commutation of the sentence of 3 years and 6 months in prison imposed on Navalni in the trial of Yves Rocher (so far suspended for parole).

According to the Kremlin, Navalni was arrested on January 17 – the day he returned to Russia from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the poisoning attempt – for violating the terms of his suspended sentence. If the court agrees to the request of the prison system, Navalni risks going to jail.

“I think the authorities are very concerned,” Maria Lipman of PONARS, the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washinton University, told Euronews about the protests in different Russian cities by Navalni.

“It should be noted that this occurs within the framework of an unfavorable economic situation from which a good way out is not seen in the near future. And the fact that the parliamentary elections will be held in September this year. And, of course, the fact that in neighboring Belarus there has been a practically popular revolt for many months. “

Lipman adds that all these factors “have combined to produce such a harsh reaction” from the Kremlin.

“However, it must be said that during the last ten years, since the massive protests of 2011-12, the authorities have been tightening the screws, passing increasingly repressive laws, trying and sentencing to prison those who continue to defy the authorities, even in the form of individual pickets, not to mention the organization of a mass demonstration. “