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Kremlin: Thousands of arrests at protests a necessary response

People run during a protest against a court ruling ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny jailed for nearly three years, in downtown Moscow early on February 3, 2021. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP)
People run during a protest against a court ruling ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny jailed for nearly three years, in downtown Moscow early on February 3, 2021. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP)

The Kremlin says that thousands of arrests at protests against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny were a necessary response to the unsanctioned rallies and strongly rebuffed Western criticism.

Asked about the harsh treatment of thousands of detainees, many of whom spent long hours on police buses and were put in overcrowded cells, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that they have to bear responsibility for joining the unauthorized protests.

“The situation wasn’t provoked by law enforcement, it was provoked by participants in unsanctioned actions,” Peskov said in a call with reporters.

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