US State Department denounces Russia’s ‘harsh tactics’ against Navalny protesters

WASHINGTON — The US State Department rebukes Moscow over its use of “harsh tactics” against protesters demanding the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Police clashed violently with protesters in Moscow and arrested more than 2,500 in cities across the country today as Russians took to the streets to denounce Kremlin rule and demand the release of Navalny.

“The United States strongly condemns the use of harsh tactics against protesters and journalists this weekend in cities throughout Russia,” State Department spokesman Ned Price says in a statement.

Navalny being taken into custody and the arrests of his supporters were “troubling indications of further restrictions on civil society and fundamental freedoms,” he adds.

“We call on Russian authorities to release all those detained for exercising their universal rights and for the immediate and unconditional release of Aleksey Navalny,” Price says, using an alternative spelling.

“We urge Russia to fully cooperate with the international community’s investigation into the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny and credibly explain the use of a chemical weapon on its soil.”