Russian police have raided the places of work and flats of opposition chief Alexei Navalny, who has been jailed since returning to the nation on January 17.
Kremlin critic Navalny was arrested as he got here again to Russia for the primary time since being poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok.
Navalny, 44, was taken sick on a flight from Siberia to Moscow in August. He was later transferred to a clinic in Germany the place he spent 5 months recovering.
He blames the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the poisoning. The Kremlin has denied accountability.
After his arrest in mid-January, Navalny known as on supporters to take to the streets and protest, and the nation has seen demonstrations held nationwide. Final weekend round 4,000 folks have been reportedly detained by police throughout protests.
On Wednesday his aides reported that police had raided his Moscow condo, one other residence the place his spouse resides, and places of work of his anti-corruption organisation.
Members of his workforce posted proof of the raids on social media.
It was not instantly clear whether or not anybody had been arrested.
Leonid Volkov, head of Navalny’s corruption-investigating organisation, stated the searches have been being carried out for alleged epidemiological or sanitary violations.
Police additionally searched the condo of Navalny’s spokeswoman and an investigator for Navalny’s group, the organisation reported.
Crackdown on social media
It got here as Russia’s media monitoring company Roskomnadzor introduced sanctions on social media giants Fb, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki and YouTube for allegedly permitting folks to incite others to protest in help of Navalny.
Requested about Saturday’s protests, Putin stated that “all folks have the appropriate to precise their standpoint inside limits, outlined by regulation”.
“In addition they got here out with political slogans. However outdoors the regulation. Why ought to all the pieces outdoors the regulation be allowed right here? No,” Putin stated.
The Russian protests and crackdown appeared to have additional strained Russia-US relations.
US State Division spokesman Ned Value on Saturday condemned “the usage of harsh techniques towards protesters and journalists” and urged authorities to launch Navalny and “all these detained for exercising their common rights.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Washington of interfering with Russia’s “inside affairs,” after the US Embassy in Moscow put a warning on its web site detailing occasions and locations of rallies in numerous Russian cities and urging US residents to keep away from them.