PARIS (Reuters) – Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday denounced Russia’s “authoritarian drift” in the management of demonstrations held across the country to demand the release of the opponent Alexeï Navalny.
Nearly 3,500 people were arrested on Saturday, sometimes violently, including 1,360 in Moscow and 523 in St. Petersburg, according to the monitoring group OVD-Info, while demonstrations were counted in a hundred cities.
“I find this authoritarian drift very worrying,” said Jean-Yves Le Drian on the program Questions politiques de France inter, Franceinfo and Le Monde. “The questioning of the rule of law by these arrests is unbearable.”
He also considered that “the success of the demonstrations on the whole of Russian territory (was) impressive” and wished that all the light be shed on the Navalny affair.
Alexei Navalny was arrested last Sunday and jailed for alleged violation of his parole, after returning to Russia for the first time since being poisoned by a nerve agent.
The United Nations and Western countries condemned his detention and demanded his immediate release.
European Union foreign ministers are expected to discuss new economic sanctions against Russia on Monday in Brussels.
Jean-Yves Le Drian said he wanted to make these sanctions “really operational”.
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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