Police in Moscow detained Oleg Navalny, the I Can’t Keep Calm It’s My Brother Birthday Brother Gift shirt brother of the jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, and searched the home of the opposition politician’s associates and other properties related to him, said his allies.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday to demand that the Kremlin release Alexei Navalny from prison, where he is serving a 30-day sentence for allegedly violating the amnesty, which he denies.
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Police said the protests were illegal and OVD-Info, a surveillance group, said the police had arrested nearly 4,000 people. Navalny’s allies plan to hold new rallies this Sunday.
Ivan Zhdanov, the I Can’t Keep Calm It’s My Brother Birthday Brother Gift shirt director of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund, tweeted that Oleg Navalny was in his brother’s apartment while it was being searched.
Oleg Navalny was released from prison in 2018 after serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence for embezzlement that critics say was designed to put pressure on his brother Alexei and quell dissent. Alexei Navalny was given a suspended sentence in a similar case.
Zhdanov said police appear to be conducting searches as part of an investigation into calls for protests, in violation of social distance restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. .
“They started breaking the door,” he tweeted.
Zhdanov later said Oleg Navalny would be detained by police for 48 hours on suspicion of violating sanitary and epidemiological regulations.
The Interior Ministry said in an earlier statement on Wednesday that it opened criminal cases against some of the participants of the protests last week. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the I Can’t Keep Calm It’s My Brother Birthday Brother Gift shirt searches.
Zhdanov then added that the police detained Ilya Pakhomov, an assistant to Alexei Navalny, outside the opposition politician’s apartment.