News24

Russian protest leaders' homes raided

2012-06-11 10:07

Moscow - Russian investigators said on Monday they were searching the homes of top protest leaders on the eve of a mass rally against President Vladimir Putin's rule.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement that the raids targeted Alexei Navalny as well as Ilya Yashin and Sergei Udaltsov over a previous rally "that ended in mass disturbances".

A so-called "March of Millions" that drew about 20 000 people onto the streets of Moscow on 6 May ended in the arrest of hundreds when some protesters clashed with police.

Putin has since signed into law legislation dramatically raising fines and other penalties for those who break Russia's already restrictive laws on organising and holding rallies.

Both Navalny - a popular anti-corruption blogger who has not ruled out one day running for president - and the ultra-leftist Udaltsov spent time in jail following that May rally in connection with another protest.

The Investigative Committee said police and investigators "intend to conduct 10 searches in all today".

Moscow Echo radio said police also targeted the home of Ksenia Sobchak - a prominent television personality and socialite who joined the protest movement after disputed December parliamentary elections.