Russia erupted into protest ahead of the inauguration of Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 7. Thousands joined demonstrations across the largest country in the world in more than 90 cities. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was once again arrested and detained.
“Navalny was taken into custody by police shortly after arriving at the rally on Pushkin Square in the center of the Russian capital where riot police carted away other protesters while some were beaten by pro-Putin supporters. Video showed police carrying a struggling Navalny out of the square, holding him by the legs and arms, reported Reuters. Navalny had called for the protests on May 5 to protest Putin obtaining another six year term.
— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) May 5, 2018
The rallies were deemed ‘unlawful’ by police. Hundreds were reported to have been detained across the country.
Protesters shouted, “Down with the tsar!”, “Russia without Putin!”, “We’ve come out here to demonstrate against the puppet elections!”. Students were forced to sign documents in some cities outlining the consequences if they joined the protests, including imprisonment and loss of jobs, education.
Прямо сейчас в школах Волгограда учеников заставляют подписывать идиотские предостережения под угрозой отчисления. Если вас это бесит, выходите 5 мая в 16:00 на площадь Металлургов! pic.twitter.com/DGHPl29LfL
— Алексей Волков (@Volkov_Alx) May 3, 2018
Supporters of the Russian president also clashed with protesters, many of them young men. One activist told a crowd in the city of Khabarovsk: “Putin has already been on his throne for 18 years! We’ve ended up in a dead end over these 18 years. I don’t want to put up with this!”, reported Sky News.
Moscow is especially keen to clamp down on any social unrest after the success of the peaceful demonstrations in Armenia where protesters forced a change in government.
— Veronica Gereda (@VeronicaGereda) May 5, 2018
— Вечная Мерзлота (@Karpovakv) May 5, 2018