Wednesday 21 August 2019

Putin leads Russian naval parade after crackdown in Moscow

The president boarded one of the 43 vessels taking part in Navy Day in St Petersburg.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre, and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Nikolai Yevmenov, behind Mr Putin, arrive to attend the military parade during the Navy Day celebration in St.Petersburg (Dmitri Lovetsky/Pool/AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre, and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Nikolai Yevmenov, behind Mr Putin, arrive to attend the military parade during the Navy Day celebration in St.Petersburg (Dmitri Lovetsky/Pool/AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

President Vladimir Putin has led Russia’s first major naval parade in years, a day after hundreds of anti-government protesters were detained in violent clashes with police in Moscow.

Mr Putin boarded one of the vessels taking part in the Navy Day parade in St Petersburg, in the Gulf of Finland, on Sunday morning.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to attend the military parade during the Navy Day celebration in St.Petersburg (Dmitri Lovetsky/Pool/AP)

The parade, the biggest in years, included 43 ships and submarines and 4,000 troops.

Mr Putin is spending the weekend away from the capital, Moscow, the Russian capital, where nearly 1,400 people were detained on Saturday in a violent police crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (centre), Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (right) and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Nikolai Yevmenov, (left) at the Navy Day celebrations in St Petersburg (Dmitri Lovetsky/Pool/AP)

Police wielded batons and wrestled with protesters around Moscow City Hall after thousands thronged nearby streets, rallying against a move by election authorities to bar opposition candidates from the September 8 ballot for Moscow city council.

Russian group OVD-Info, which monitors police arrests, said it was the largest number of detentions at a protest in the Russian capital this decade.

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Police officers detain protesters during an unsanctioned rally in the centre of Moscow (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

OVD-Info said the number of arrests it logged for Saturday’s protest had reached 1,373 by early Sunday. The group has monitored arrests since 2011.

Several protesters reported broken limbs and head injuries. Police justified their response by saying the rally was not sanctioned by authorities.

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