dpa/GNA – Protests are planned in 70 cities throughout Russia on Saturday, in a show of support for imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny and against state repression.

The rallies, announced on social media, have not been given permits, however, and Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has warned members of the public not to participate in unsanctioned protests.
Demonstrations have been banned for months due to regulations to control the pandemic.

The authorities have also clamped down on Navalny’s associates and supporters, detaining several of his aides including his press secretary Kira Yarmysh.

Navalny, who returned from Germany, where he had been recovering from an assassination attempt with the nerve agent Novichok, was sentenced to 30 days of pretrial detention at a snap trial on Monday.

The Russian judiciary says Navalny was sentenced for violating parole from an earlier sentence by travelling to Germany for his recovery.

Navalny and his team criticized the process as a politically motivated attempt to silence him.

The EU imposed sanctions after the poisoning, which Navalny blames on President Vladimir Putin and said was carried out by a hit squad made up of members of the Russian domestic intelligence service FSB, allegations Putin and the FSB deny.

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