Moscow protest spreads wide after police block original plan

first_img By Digital AIM Web Support – January 31, 2021 WhatsApp Twitter Pinterest Facebook Local NewsWorld News Facebook MOSCOW (AP) — The Moscow police plan to stifle an opposition protest by clamping down on the center of the city backfired — not only did the massive demonstration take place, but it was spread throughout a wide swath of the city. Moscow police always come out strong for unauthorized protest gatherings, but the plan for Sunday’s demonstration demanding freedom for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny was especially anathema symbolically. It was to start on Lubyanka Square, where the Federal Security Service that Navalny accuses of poisoning him is headquartered, then march a half-kilometer to the presidential administration building, about as close to the levers of power that a protester could get without breaching the Kremlin’s walls. Police responded to the provocative plan by closing seven subway stations in the vicinity and restricting pedestrian traffic in a large trapezoid from Red Square to Lubyanka, an area that contains many tourist sights and some of the city’s best shopping. On Sunday, journalists were able to reach Lubyanka, but few people who looked like potential protesters could get there. An hour before the action was to start, Navalny’s team told protesters via a messaging app to head to two still-open subway stations. After police detained some protesters and drove others away from the stations, the Navalny team told people to go to the square fronted by three of the city’s long-distance train stations. More detentions took place on the square and its fringes. Thereafter, the throngs set out for the Matrosskaya Tishina jail, where Navalny is held. Once repelled by police there, many headed back to the stations area. In all, a demonstration that could have been contained in a relatively small area and observed by few who weren’t participating, the demonstrators spread their message across much of central Moscow, attracting considerable attention along the way with their chants of “Putin, resign!” and “Putin, thief!” — a reference to an opulent Black Sea estate reportedly built for the Russian leader that was featured in a widely popular video released by Navalny’s team. On surging main roads and even side streets, passing drivers laid on their horns and flashed victory signs out the window, indicating that support for Navalny and dismay with President Vladimir Putin has spread well beyond the mostly young people who were motivated to navigate the icy sidewalks. Although Putin and other officials have likened the protesters to terrorists, what Muscovites saw from their windows as the throngs passed was a stream of people better-behaved than the average crowd of soccer fans. The only vandalism observed on the trek were slogans traced on snow-dusted car windows: “Putin is a thief” and “PTN PNKh,” the text-speak version of a profane insult of Putin. More than 1,600 people were reportedly arrested in Moscow, including Navalny’s wife, Yulia, but there were few visible attempts to provoke police. Many of those who were grabbed and forced into police vehicles seemingly were picked at random. Across the country, more than 5,000 people were detained. As helmeted riot police chased some marchers into a subway station toward the end of the demonstration, a woman having a cigarette laughed and said: “Is today a Russian holiday?” For the demonstrators it wasn’t a holiday, but they may feel encouraged by how police tactics gave them an inadvertent opportunity to show their determination.center_img Twitter WhatsApp Moscow protest spreads wide after police block original plan Pinterest Previous articleSalah ends goal slump, leads Liverpool to 3-1 win v West HamNext articleFreestyle skier takes time to reflect each May 8 after crash Digital AIM Web Support TAGS  last_img read more

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News story: Bold new measures to keep people safe on the roads

first_img Out of hours media enquiries 020 7944 4292 government publishes 2 year action plan to improve safety of vulnerable road users funding boost for police use of video evidence, and new 15% local infrastructure investment goal minister Jesse Norman announces search for new cycling and walking champion, to promote cycle and pedestrian-friendly policies People who choose to cycle or walk should be able to do so in a safe and welcoming environment; active travel is not only great for personal health but public health too. With cyclists and pedestrians among the most vulnerable on our roads, safety, and the perceptions of safety, need to be addressed to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and get active. We welcome the government’s action plan, which couldn’t be more timely as people across the country are encouraged to be more #BikeSmart for national Road Safety Week. Media enquiries 020 7944 3021 Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets said: The action plan will also assess whether insurance companies could offer discounts to drivers and motorcyclists who have passed Bikeability training. The DfT will work closely with courier companies to explore incentives for drivers who undergo training in driving safely alongside cyclists, pedestrians and horse-riders.The action plan builds upon the feedback of more than 14,000 people, including organisations such as Brake, Living Streets, Cycling UK and the British Horse Society – who responded to the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy Safety Review call for evidence.We are seeking to make cycling and walking the natural choices for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey, by 2040. Since the strategy was published, councils and metro mayors have allocated an additional £700 million to active travel initiatives, with almost £2 billion being invested in this area over this Parliament.The government announced that it would review guidance in the Highway Code on how road users should behave in relation to cyclists and pedestrians, as well as other vulnerable road users. The review will be conducted in consultation with all key stakeholders, including those representing equestrians. News desk enquiriescenter_img A number of ground-breaking initiatives have been announced as part of a 2 year action plan to improve road safety.The 50 proposed new measures are part of the government’s plan to combat road rage, encourage greater mutual respect between road users and protect the most vulnerable.Councils will be given powers to tackle dangerous parking in mandatory cycle lanes, and will also be encouraged to spend around 15% of their local transport infrastructure funding on walking and cycling.Cycling and Walking Minister Jesse Norman said: Too often people walking pay the ultimate price on our roads. This is unacceptable and we need opportunities like this to make our roads safer. Looking to improve the Highway Code for walking and cycling, and appointing a cycling and walking champion can help make our streets safer for everyone. Lower speed limits in urban areas, more time to cross at light-controlled crossings, better street maintenance and constraints on pavement parking can all help encourage people to choose these cleaner and healthier ways to travel. Greater road safety— and especially the protection of vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders – is essential. We want to improve air quality, encourage healthy exercise, reduce obesity and boost our high streets and economic productivity. That means more support for cycling and walking, and that’s why these new measures are designed to deliver. As part of the action plan, a bespoke new back office unit will be set up so that police can analyse video evidence submitted by the public. This builds on the success of Operation Snap – a successful programme first piloted by North Wales Police in 2016 – and will allow police to handle video and photographic evidence submitted via dash cams.The Department for Transport (DfT) will also appoint a new cycling and walking champion, to ensure new policies meet the needs of road users across the UK, and will host a new 2019 Bikeability Summit encouraging businesses to promote cycling and walking schemes to their employees.Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, the road safety charity, said: Switchboard 0300 330 3000last_img read more

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