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Aleksei Navalny Verdict Protests -- Liveblog

RFE/RL is live-blogging a mass unsanctioned protest taking place near the Kremlin this evening after a Kirov court sentenced Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny to five years in a penal colony. The decision has been widely condemned as politically motivated.


Highlights

Here's a quick summary of today's events
  • Aleksei Navalny and co-defendant Pytor Ofitserov are convicted by a Kirov court of embezzlement and sentenced to five and four years in jail, respectively.
  • The final post from Navalny's Twitter account after the verdict reminds supporters to gather in protest at Manezh Square in Moscow on July 18.
  • Authorities close off Manezh Square and Red Square, with hundreds of people already gathering nearby.
  • Navalny's lawyer urges Muscovites to boycott local elections in September.
  • U.S. and EU officials cast doubt on the trial and cite political motives, echoing similar accusations from rights groups.
18:13 18.7.2013
16x9 Image Glenn Kates
The protests, due to begin at 6PM MSK, are being called "a discussion" because authorities have note given official permission for the action. Still, police are already blocking Manezh Square, an area adjacent to the Kremlin, and some seemingly spontaneous street construction and cleaning projects have begun in the area.



18:30 18.7.2013
Organizers have called for protests in over 20 cities around Russia. (Here's the List posted on VKontakte, a Russian social networking site).

This Tweet shows a gathering in Ekaterinburg, located in Russia's Urals region.

18:49 18.7.2013
Blogger Mitya Aleshkovsky provides video of the police blockade of the sqaure.

18:56 18.7.2013
Here's a quick summary of today's events
  • Aleksei Navalny and co-defendant Pytor Ofitserov are convicted by a Kirov court of embezzlement and sentenced to five and four years in jail, respectively.
  • The final post from Navalny's Twitter account after the verdict reminds supporters to gather in protest at Manezh Square in Moscow on July 18.
  • Authorities close off Manezh Square and Red Square, with hundreds of people already gathering nearby.
  • Navalny's lawyer urges Muscovites to boycott local elections in September.
  • U.S. and EU officials cast doubt on the trial and cite political motives, echoing similar accusations from rights groups.
19:02 18.7.2013
Our correspondent in Moscow, Elena Fanailova, says eight people have been detained on Manezh Square.
19:09 18.7.2013
19:20 18.7.2013
One protester's sign says, "a mom with many kids for a papa with many kids." This is in reference to Navalny's co-defendent, Pyotr Ofitserov, 38, and with five young children. He refused to testify against Navalny and was sentenced to four years in a penal colony. Read more about him here.

19:24 18.7.2013
Protesters are calling the police "fascists" and chanting "shame" as they tussle with protesters trying to get through.
19:33 18.7.2013
From Anastasia Kirilenko, a reporter from RFE/RL's Russian Service reports on one man's divergent causest.

"First, I'm here on personal business, to buy shoes on Manezh Square. Secondly, my civil rights are being restricted."

Meanwhile, over a megaphone, police shout, "Leave Manezh Square, it is closed for repairs!"
19:37 18.7.2013
From RFE/RL Russian correspondent Vladislav Moiseev: Detentions continue, people being dragged along the asphalt. At least three dozen detainees.

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