Unsanctioned rallies

A Russian spring, maybe?

A wave of unsanctioned rallies swept across Russia on Sunday to protest corruption in the government of President Vladi­mir Putin, in a nationwide show of defiance not seen in years, and one the Kremlin had tried in vain to prevent with bans and warnings.

Too angry to be cowed, they poured into the street, fed up with their country’s wide-reaching corruption and a government unwilling, or unable, to stop it. Police responded with barricades, tear gas and mass arrests in cities across Russia.

By Sunday evening, riot police in body armor and helmets hauled in more than 700 demonstrators in central Moscow, as the crowd, numbering in the tens of thousands, cheered and whistled and chanted, “Shame! Shame!”

New Russia, just like the old Russia. No you may not protest, you may not object, you may not dissent. No wonder Trump loves Putin so much.

One of the first detained in Moscow was the chief architect of the rallies, Alexei Navalny, who called on people to come to protest in the wake of his allegations that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has amassed vineyards, luxury yachts and lavish mansions worth more than $1 billion.

Authorities charged Navalny and other members of his Moscow-based Anti-corruption Foundation with extremism; one of his group was charged with broadcasting the rally illegally. If that’s the case, a lot of people are going to be in trouble; thousands of iPhones recorded as police closed off central Pushkin Square, lined major streets and hauled anyone carrying signs into large buses. Also among the detained was American Alec Luhn, an accredited reporter for the Guardian.

Donnie is fuming with envy.

Good luck, people of Russia!

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