Russian police arrested around 150 people on Saturday at a meeting of independent and opposition politicians in Moscow. They are accused of having links with an “undesirable organization”, according to the protest monitoring group OVD-Info and Russian media.
The forum, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, was to be a gathering of city delegates from across the country, Andrej Pivovarov, organizer of the event, told radio. Echo Moskvy.
Pivovarov is the executive director of Open Russia, a UK-based group founded by exiled former oil magnate and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
When the forum began, police entered the building, arrested participants and took them to police vans waiting outside, according to video footage. Rain tv and Russian news agencies.
‘Everyone is arrested’
OVD-Info, which oversees the detention of protesters and political activists, has published a list of more than 150 people who have reportedly been arrested.
“The police came to the forum of municipal deputies in Moscow. There are 150 people here from all over the country. Everyone is detained. I mean, everyone,” an opposition politician wrote on Twitter.
Open Russia is one of more than 30 groups that the Kremlin has called undesirable and banned under a law passed in 2015.
Human rights lawyers say the “unwanted organization” and “foreign agent” laws could be used to pressure members of civil society. Russia denies this, saying the laws are necessary to protect national security from outside interference.
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