Protestants opposed to constitutional reform were arrested in Moscow

Hundreds of protesters marched in the Russian capital on Wednesday to demand the resignation of President Vladimir Putin and protest against the reforms that paved the way for his stay in power. More than 140 people were arrested according to NGO’s OVD-Info.

More than 140 people were arrested on Wednesday, July 15, by police following an opposition rally in central Moscow to protest a new revision of the constitution, according to NGO OVD-Info, which specializes in surveillance protests in Russia.

A total of 142 people were arrested, according to this source, after this unauthorized protest against the constitutional changes that specifically gave President Vladimir Putin the right to remain in power until 2036, the year of his 84th birthday.

The Russian police and government have not yet communicated about the arrests.

Arrest of a municipal deputy

Ioulia Galiamina, a municipal deputy who is a figurehead for this movement against this revision of the constitution, announced on Facebook that she had been arrested with her daughter in the Russian capital.

The police surrounded the protesters and arrested them late at night after the protesters went to one of the main boulevards in Moscow.

AFP reporters saw protesters and journalists arrested on a street in the city center and then taken to police buses after the rainy demonstration in Pushkin Square. An AFP correspondent was briefly arrested.

Yulia Galiamina and her supporters collected signatures – she wrote on Twitter that she had received 5,000, “an excellent result” – for an appeal to the Supreme Court against this month’s review of the Russian constitution.

Opposition activists therefore believe that this vote on the constitutional revision is illegal and believe it is time for Putin, who has been in power for more than two decades as president or prime minister, to resign.

Following a vote in late June and early July, this reform was approved by almost 78% of voters, according to official results, but the opposition denied massive fraud.

Opponent Alexei Navalny called this public consultation a “huge lie” and NGO Golos, which specializes in election observation, condemned an “unprecedented” attack on the sovereignty of the Russian people.

“They say the results were falsified”

“I voted against,” said Inna Golovina, a 46-year-old accountant who attended the Russian capital on Wednesday during the protest. “It is said that the results were falsified. I came to express my opposition,” she adds.

“Russia without Putin!”, “Russia will be free!”, Protesters protested.

“The authorities do what they want, people’s opinion does not interest anyone,” complains Andrei Stepanov, 50, a retired soldier who took part in a similar operation in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second city.

Up to 1,000 people had gathered at the time, according to an AFP journalist.

“We have to show that we are against it in a certain way,” continued AndreïStepanov.

The revision of the Constitution strengthens in particular the powers of the Head of State and allows him to serve two additional conditions.

With AFP and Reuters