Russian opposition activist Lyubov Sobol has been detained for inciting protests in support of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the independent Dozhd news channel reported Thursday.
Sobol, a key Navalny ally, is among those calling on supporters to attend unauthorized protests across Russia on Saturday to protest Navalny’s detention following his return from Germany after recovery from Novichok poisoning. The protests are also aimed against Russia’s ruling elite in the wake of Navalny’s viral video exposé into President Vladimir Putin’s alleged $1.3 billion seaside palace.
Police detained Sobol from her lawyer’s car and took her to the Donskoy police station in Moscow, where an administrative protocol on calling for an unauthorized rally will be drawn up against her, Dozhd reported.
“How can a person be detained for something that does not yet exist? In my opinion, this is illegal,” Sobol’s lawyer Vladimir Voronin told Dozhd.
Earlier on Thursday, police visited the residences of Mediazona news website editor-in-chief Sergei Smirnov, Ekho Moskvy radio station host Alexander Plushev and Navalny’s press secretary Kira Yarmysh.
Russian authorities have ramped up their warnings regarding Saturday’s protests after TikTok videos of young people voicing plans to attend went viral, threatening fines and prosecutions and asking social media platforms to take down posts promoting the events.
Meanwhile, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), where Sobol works as a lawyer, has promised to pay any fines issued to participants of Saturday’s rallies.
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