Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of Russian opposition leader and president Vladmir Putin’s main critic, Alexey Navalny, was detained in Moscow on Saturday, January 23 as protests held in support of her husband sweeps across Russia.
Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Ivanovna Navalnaya, also joined Yulia to attend the rally in Moscow.
In a video posted on social media, Navalnaya is shown being stopped by police at the entrance to a metro station in central Moscow near where protesters were gathered.
She is then escorted to a police van. The protest in Moscow was one of dozens in rallies held in across Russia on Saturday, in support of Navalny.
According to OVD-Info, an independent site that monitors arrests in Russia, more than 2,100 people were detained during various protests in nearly 100 cities.
Alexei Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport on Sunday last week, just moments after arriving from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from nerve agent, Novichok poisoning.
He and the EU blamed the poisoning on the Russian government but the Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement.
Protesters on Saturday , January 23, were demanding Navalny’s release as thousands of people gathered at Pushkin square in central Moscow on Saturday afternoon, carrying banners and chanting “Putin is a thief” and “One for all and all for one!”
The protesters were met by riot police, who were trying to push them away using batons.
The US warned it’s citizens to avoid joining the protests after Russia accused the US of supporting the protests.
The European Union High Representative Josep Borrell in response to the mass arrests, condemned the “widespread detentions, disproportionate use of force” by Russian authorities in Saturday’s protests and said he would discuss the “next steps” with EU foreign ministers on Monday.