The Russians faced -60-degree weather and police brutality to demand the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Thousands of Russians from 200 cities spanning from Moscow to Siberia faced sub-zero temperatures and police brutality during the country’s pro-democracy protests on Saturday.
The demonstrations came in response to the assassination attempt and the subsequent arrest of the opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which provoked anger among Russian citizens.
Navalny was poisoned in August last year and taken to Germany for treatment, where doctors confirmed that the chemical agent Novichok was used. Navalny then helped investigate his own murder along with Bellingcat, an informative. He famously called an FSB agent she implicated him and tricked him into confessing.
The leader of the opposition returned to Russia on 17 January, where he was arrested immediately. Your team published another research two days later, he allegedly shows President Vladimir Putin’s palace on the Black Sea. The investigation was accompanied by calls from Navalny to protest on January 23, which were heard loudly.
According to him, there have been more than 3,000 arrests across the country, including 16 journalists OVD-Info protest monitoring website, the highest in the last four years. It is not known how many people participated across the country, but the videos and images show what appear to be tens of thousands of people on the street.
In Siberia, people protested in a climate of -60 degrees.
In Irkutsk, a small border town with Mongolia, thousands filled the streets.
Protesters also lined the streets to the Kremlin in Moscow.
And thousands marched to St. Petersburg.
Moscow protesters threw snowballs at nearby police officers.
But police were quick to use force during the protests, which had previously been deemed illegal.
A video shows a woman getting kicked in the stomach. According to the media outlet Mediazona, the woman had a concussion and was taken to hospital.
In another video, police are seen harassing a small child while the crowd yells for him to be let go.
A journalist, who was arrested and later released, recorded people being beaten on police buses.
And another video shows a woman taking two men in civilian clothes.
The US Embassy in Russia tweeted to support the protests and the Russian Foreign Ministry later labeled the tweet as “hypocrisy.”
The startling photos and videos largely show protesters rallying against police, sometimes appealing to their conscience.
Disillusioned by the police response and government condemnation, Navalny’s organization called for more protests next week.
“This was the first step on the road to victory,” the Anticorruption Foundation said he tweeted. “See you again in a week.”