NewsMass arrests at Alexei Navalny's funeral spark international outcry

Mass arrests at Alexei Navalny's funeral spark international outcry

Nawalny's funeral. At least 128 people detained.
Nawalny's funeral. At least 128 people detained.
Images source: © PAP | MAXIM SHIPENKOV
3:16 AM EST, March 2, 2024

On Friday, more than 128 individuals were arrested during the funeral of Alexei Navalny. These arrests occurred in 19 cities across Russia, including major cities such as Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, St. Petersburg, and Sochi. This information was brought to light by OVD-Info, an independent project focused on documenting human rights abuses.

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OVD-Info reported that a significant number of the arrests were of people trying to lay flowers at the monuments dedicated to the victims of Stalin's repressions. Andrei Morev, the vice-chair of the Moscow branches of the opposition party Yabloko, was among those arrested by the police in the subway while returning from Navalny's funeral.

According to Mediazona, an independent Russian news outlet, police began releasing attendees from the Borisovsky cemetery where Navalny was interred but subsequently barred further entry. Meduza, another news source, pointed out that the cemetery typically closes at 5 PM, but on the day of Navalny's funeral, it remained accessible until 2:30 PM Eastern Time.

Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, honored Navalny's memory on platform X, stating, "It took courage to pay tribute to Alexei Navalny. Thousands of Russians showed they had it. His legacy lives on. Eternal memory."

Olaf Scholz, the Chancellor of Germany, echoed Macron's sentiments on the same platform, acknowledging the bravery of Russians who preserved Navalny's memory by attending his funeral despite substantial risks.

Kremlin cautions against protest

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, previously cautioned against joining any unauthorized demonstrations, emphasizing potential severe consequences. Many who wished to pay their last respects to Navalny were prevented by the police from attending the memorial service.

CNN experienced an apparent disruption to its broadcast signal from Moscow during the funeral ceremonies. The signal, for reasons unknown, was lost 20 minutes before the event and was only restored after the ceremonies concluded.

It was revealed that the transmission of the funeral ceremony, which was being streamed online by Navalny's associates, faced obstructions. This was due to cellular providers blocking connections and mobile phone signals being jammed. The Insider reported that an antenna, allegedly for use by security forces, was installed near the temple to hinder communication.

On the following Saturday, at least 49 individuals were arrested in Russia during events commemorating Navalny and protests against the war on the second anniversary of Russia's conflict with Ukraine.

Navalny, Vladimir Putin's most prominent political opponent, was reported to have died suddenly on February 16, in a prison camp located beyond the Arctic Circle. He was serving a 19-year sentence and faced the possibility of up to 30 years in prison. The authorities have denied his family the custody of his body.

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