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Detained at Moscow Protest Over Framed Journalist

Detained at Moscow Protest Over Framed Journalist

Before the police backed down, almost 25,000 people had signed up to a Facebook page expressing their intention to take part in a protest march on Wednesday in solidarity with Golunov.

Kolokoltsev, the interior minister, said some police officers involved in the case were being temporarily removed from duty pending an investigation and that he planned to ask Putin to dismiss other more senior police personnel.

In announcing the arrest, police posted photos of drugs allegedly taken in the journalist's apartment then admitted the images came from another case. Golunov and his publication, Meduza, claim that his arrest was in retaliation for his investigative reporting on corruption.

Police said more than 200 were detained in the Moscow demonstration, but the OVD-Info organization that monitors political arrests put the figure at more than 400.

Some of the protesters wore white T-shirts saying "I am/We are Ivan Golunov", the same slogan as a front page headline carried by Russia's three leading daily newspapers on Monday.

Information indicating Moscow police acted based on falsified evidence and sham allegations quickly surfaced.

Supporters of Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov and other protesters gather to attend a march in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Among the detainees there are journalists of the media Meduza, Dozhd, and MBKh Media. A large crowd of Muscovites including a number of prominent Russians turned up regardless.

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One protester, Ivan, 28, explained why marchers had defied the police.

German news weekly Der Spiegel reported that one of its producers was also arrested, despite carrying appropriate permits.

"The authorities are very much scared of the fantastic and unanimous display of solidarity in the Golunov case", Navalny tweeted.

Amnesty International accused the Russian authorities of "contempt for solidarity and rights". Many protesters said the journalist's case had struck a nerve because almost everyone could find himself in his place.

What happened to Ivan Golunov?

"A lot of drug cases happen like this", said 15-year-old Yegor, who wore an "I am Golunov" T- shirt. "We were lucky that Ivan was freed but it was a small victory - we haven't won the war".

The rally was unsanctioned by city authorities and police soon began to detain people for violating protest laws. "We should not lull ourselves into complacency", said local lawmaker Maksim Reznik. More than 20 demonstrators have been detained, according to monitoring group.

During his two decades in power, Putin has silenced most of his critics and sought to muzzle the media. It said police had started to release some of them without charge while drawing up charges against others.