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Navalny urges Russians to protest daily against Ukraine invasion


(Al Jazeera) Jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny has urged Russians to stage daily protests against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, saying the country should not be a “nation of frightened cowards” and calling Russian President Vladimir Putin “an insane little tsar”.

“I am urging everyone to take to the streets and fight for peace,” he said in statements posted on Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday, calling on Russians not to be afraid of going to prison.

“If, to prevent war, we need to fill up the jails and police vans, we will fill up the jails and police vans.”

“Everything has a price and now, in the spring of 2022, we should pay that price.”

The 45-year-old, who has led the biggest protests in Russia against Putin in recent years and survived a poisoning with Novichok nerve agent in 2020, is now serving a prison sentence on old fraud charges.

Navalny’s movement had previously called for a campaign of civil disobedience to protest against Russia’s invasion of its western neighbour.

Several rounds of anti-war protests have already taken place in cities across Russia. More than 6,800 people have been arrested for taking part in the demonstrations, according to independent protest monitoring group OVD-Info.

“Putin is not Russia. And if there is anything in Russia right now that you can be most proud of, it is those 6,824 people who were detained because – without any call – they took to the streets with placards saying “No War”, Navalny wrote on Twitter.

Navalny urged the people of Russia and Belarus – which allowed Russian troops passage to attack Ukraine – to demonstrate in main squares at 7pm every weekday and at 2pm on weekends and during holidays. Those who live abroad should gather at Russian embassies to protest, he said.

“You cannot wait another day,” he said, adding that Russia should not become a “nation of frightened cowards” who are pretending not to see an “aggressive war unleashed by our clearly insane little tsar”.

Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh also reiterated his call to protest on Twitter.

“The most important [thing]: to spread information. If you are afraid of reposting (although it’s late for fear) – at least spread it among your acquaintances by word of mouth… No war,” Yarmysh said.

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