Protests in EU ‘have larger, graver consequences’ than in Russia – Putin
Politically motivated rallies in Europe are much larger in scale and often lead to violent clashes with many demonstrators and police officers injured, Putin said answering a journalist’s question in Helsinki.
“The protests in Moscow are not something unique for this world and Europe in particular,” Putin said answering a question about the demonstrations during a joint press conference with the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Helsinki on Wednesday.
Events that take place [in Europe] are much larger in scale and, while they are also held under political slogans, they lead to rather drastic consequences for those who take part in the demonstrations.
Protests ended up with “thousands of injured people, including some sustaining serious injuries, both among protesters and law enforcement officers” and even deaths, Putin said.Earlier this week, he made similar comments about Moscow protests during a press conference with the French President Emmanuel Macron.
The latter said he closely followed the events in Moscow and sought to lecture the Russian president on how to deal with the demonstrators. Ironically, France has been gripped by Yellow Vest protests which have been met with police batons, rubber bullets and tear gas for the past 40 weekends.
The French rallies held every weekend since November 2018 indeed have witnessed some chilling outbreaks of violence. Many protesters blamed police violence for their life-changing injuries like lost eyes and limbs. In July, hundreds of people even joined the ‘march of the mutilated’ in Paris to protest police brutality.Not only France, but protests for Catalonia’s independence from Spain in Barcelona recently saw heavy clashes and police brutality, as well as G20 protests in Hamburg among others.
Moscow believes that Russians have every right to defend their interests by holding rallies but protests but should follow the rule of law, Putin concluded on Wednesday.
A series of protests in Moscow followed a local election committee’s decision to ban several opposition candidates from running in the upcoming city council vote. The committee said that the banned candidates faked people’s signatures which were required to get on the ballot. The candidates disputed this decision by calling it flawed.
Over the past weeks, the city saw a couple of peaceful rallies attended by thousands of people willing to support the banned politicians. They were coordinated with the local authorities. Several other protests that were not sanctioned spiraled into standoffs between demonstrators and police and resulted in a high number of detentions.
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