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Updated: 11 min 52 sec ago

'Crooks and thieves' protests resonate with youth

Tue, 2017-06-13 01:54
A boisterous anti-corruption demonstration was certainly not what the Russian authorities had in mind when they planned this year's "Independence Day" festivities in the capital, Moscow.

Anti-Kremlin protesters fill Russian streets, Putin critic Navalny jailed

Tue, 2017-06-13 01:10

Baton-wielding riot police broke up anti-corruption protests and detained hundreds of demonstrators in Moscow and other Russian cities on Monday, before a court sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to his second prison term this year.

The protests, called by Navalny, a strong critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, drew thousands of people and were some of the biggest in Russia since 2012.

“Russia without Putin” and “Russia will be free” chanted the demonstrators, including many young people, who crowded into central Moscow on a public holiday.

Navalny, who is mounting a long-shot bid to unseat Putin in an election next year, had called for mass protests in Moscow and other cities against official corruption.

The Kremlin has dismissed Navalny’s graft allegations, accusing him of irresponsibly trying to whip up unrest.

The scale of Monday’s protests in Moscow and smaller ones in St. Petersburg and scores of other cities suggests Navalny has maintained his campaign’s momentum despite more than 1,000 people being arrested after the last such protest in March.

That is likely to embolden him to call for more protests and keep Putin, who is expected to run for and win re-election next year, under rare domestic pressure.

“Neither mass detentions nor criminal cases after March 26 (the last protest) worked,” wrote Lyubov Sobol, a Navalny ally, on social media. “People are not afraid.”

The OVD-Info monitoring group, a non-profit organisation, said preliminary figures showed 730 people had been detained in Moscow. The Interior Ministry said 500 people were detained in St Petersburg.

Navalny’s wife, Yulia, said her husband was detained as he tried to leave their home. Reuters witnesses saw a police car leaving his apartment compound at high speed, followed a few minutes later by a minibus carrying about 10 policemen.

Electricity in his office was cut at around the same time as he was detained, briefly bringing down a live feed of the protests, Navalny’s spokeswoman said.

At a midnight court hearing, a Russian judge later found Navalny guilty of repeatedly violating the law on organising public meetings and sentenced him to 30 days in prison. Navalny served a 15-day jail term after the protest in March.

CHANGES

Authorities in Moscow said Monday’s protest was illegal and drafted in riot police who fired pepper spray and used batons to break it up, detaining people and bundling them onto buses.

Roman, a 19-year-old student, said Navalny’s campaign against official corruption had struck a chord.

“I’m sick of the Putin system,” he said. “It’s been unchanged for the last 17 years. There is so much evidence that our officials are stealing with impunity.”

Dima, an 18-year-old florist, said he wanted Prime Minister Medvedev to return what he said were the politician’s ill-gotten gains. Medvedev, a close Putin ally, flatly denies wrongdoing.

“I’m not afraid if I get detained,” Dima said.

The Interior Ministry said the turnout at the Moscow protest was about 4,500 – significantly fewer than the numbers estimated by Reuters reporters, who put the turnout in the low tens of thousands.

State media ignored the demonstrations, broadcasting Soviet-style coverage of Putin handing out state awards instead.

Navalny brought thousands onto the streets across Russia in March, the largest such protests since a wave of anti-Kremlin demonstrations in 2012. Navalny was fined and jailed for 15 days for his role in those protests.

Moscow authorities had initially authorised a venue for Monday’s protest away from the city centre. But Navalny switched it to Tverskaya Street, Moscow’s main avenue near the Kremlin. The General Prosecutor’s Office had warned that a protest there would be illegal.

The area of Tverskaya Street near where Navalny’s supporters congregated was hosting an officially organised festival, with actors re-enacting periods of Russian history.

Video footage showed a protester clambering onto a mock-up of a wartime sandbag fortification holding a poster calling Putin a liar, before being pulled to the ground by a cast member dressed as a World War Two Soviet soldier.

For now, polls suggest Navalny has scant chance of unseating Putin, who enjoys high ratings. It is unclear too if the Kremlin will even let Navalny run for the presidency.

But the 41-year-old lawyer turned political street campaigner hopes anger over corruption may boost his support.

A video he made accusing Medvedev of living far beyond his means has garnered over 22 million online views to date.

Navalny, who had a green liquid thrown in his face in April, robbing him of some of his sight, said hundreds of people had also attended demonstrations in Russia’s Far East on Monday morning.

“I want changes,” wrote Navalny in a blog post last week. “I want to live in a modern democratic state and I want our taxes to be converted into roads, schools and hospitals, not into yachts, palaces and vineyards.”

The post Anti-Kremlin protesters fill Russian streets, Putin critic Navalny jailed appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Authers’ Note: Neutron Jack

Mon, 2017-06-12 22:39
Look back to Immelt’s predecessor to understand why GE has trailed the US market

Fake designer clothes bust

Mon, 2017-06-12 21:13

The customs department said on Monday it had confiscated fake designer shoes and clothing items from a Pallouriotissa shop in Nicosia, worth around €10,000

According to an announcement, customs and police officers, raided the shop owned by a 44-year-old man at around noon and located more than 750 items – shoes and clothing – that appear to be imitations of various sports brands, worth around €10,000.

 

The post Fake designer clothes bust appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

A trip around Aphrodite’s Gardens

Mon, 2017-06-12 20:30

The European Capital of Culture Pafos2017 will bring myth to life through the music of the Akamas Duo at the Ancient Odeon on Wednesday.

Under the name Aphrodite’s Gardens, the duo, Nicolas Kyriakou on guitar and Iasonas Keramides on the violin, will invite the audience to an audio-visual tour of stories, images and scents of the goddess’s birthplace.

Traditional songs alternate with music that highlight mythology and, along with the melodies of Astor Piazzola and Jules Massenet, they will create a magnificent spectacle.

This very special introduction into music and mythology is directed by Minas Tingilis, scenography and visual editing is by Giorgos Papadopoulos and costumes are by Rena Perdiki.

Narration and movement is by Stephanie Mavrokordatou, with the participation of Bianca Tofarides, Panareti Neophytou, Elena Herodotou, Kristia Iereidi, Michalis Pericleous and Nadia Georgiadou.

Aphrodite’s Gardens
Musical and theatre performance by the Duo Akamas and other artists. June 14. Ancient Odeon, Paphos. 8.30pm. Tel: 26-932017

The post A trip around Aphrodite’s Gardens appeared first on Cyprus Mail.