Russian opposition activists jailed for Red Square protest
Two Russian opposition activists on Saturday received short jail sentences for unfurling a banner on Moscow's Red Square to protest against the arrest of opposition leaders.
Moscow's Tverskoi district court sentenced Dmitry Andrianov and Marat Salakhiyev, activists in The Other Russia movement, to two days behind bars after their protest on Thursday, the Echo of Moscow radio station reported.
In a protest next to a popular ice rink on Red Square on Thursday, Andrianov and Salakhiyev shouted "Freedom to political prisoners!" and unfurled a banner calling for the release of jailed The Other Russia activists.
Both Andrianov and Salakhiyev were due to be released Saturday because they had already spent the last two days in detention awaiting trial, the Echo of Moscow radio station reported.
Opposition leaders including Eduard Limonov, Boris Nemtsov and Ilya Yashin were arrested on New Year's Eve at a demonstration calling for the respect of the article in the constitution that guarantees freedom of assembly.
The opposition leaders were later sentenced to between five and 15 days for resisting police and hooliganism.
Dozens of activists have been detained at rallies against the imprisonments, which the United States last week slammed as contrary to President Dmitry Medvedev's liberal rhetoric and the country's long-term interests.
Nemtsov, the leader of the liberal Solidarity movement, on Saturday thanked his supporters in a brief interview with the Echo of Moscow from his cell.
"I would like to thank the people who risk their freedom, support me and every day come to the detention centre, to the city hall and hold pickets all over the country," he said. "They are courageous, serious, worthy people."
© 2011 AFP