EU condemns 600 detentions at Moscow anti-corruption rally

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A Moscow court jailed and fined government opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Monday after an anti-corruption demonstration in Moscow.

In court Monday, he was fined €322 and jailed for 15 days, for violating public meeting rules and disobeying police.

About 600 people were detained after Sunday’s rally, which police said drew 8,000 people. Vladimir Chernikov, chief of the Moscow government’s Regional Security Department, announced the arrest figure, saying the exact number “is yet to be determined,” RT reported Monday. The :nationwide protest came after Navalny’s accusations of government corruption, with other demonstrations in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk and other cities across Russia.

A European Union spokesman condemned the actions of Moscow police Sunday, saying the detentions “prevented the exercise of basic freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly, which are fundamental rights enshrined in the Russian constitution.”

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner, in a statement, said, “The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law, and the ability to exercise their rights without fear of retribution.”

The Kremlin stayed silent on the protests until Monday, when Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the rights of citizens to take part in demonstrations are respected, but protests must be conducted in accordance with the law.

The “cannot respect those who deliberately misguide people and who instigated these illegal activities yesterday,” Peskov said. “We cannot respect those who deliberately misled underage minors promising them some payment in return for participating in an unauthorized protest, thereby exposing them to danger. We cannot accept, nor respect this.”

The Moscow business newspaper Vedomosti said younger Russians have become politicized and have a high level of distrust of authority. Independent Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy reported unsanctioned rallies took place Sunday in 82 cities across Russia, bringing together about 60,000 opposition supporters.