June 13, 2017 / 5:33 PM / 5 months ago

Germany criticises arrests of Russian demonstrators

BERLIN (Reuters) - A top German foreign ministry official on Tuesday criticised the arrest of more than 1,000 demonstrators in Russia and said Beriln expected them to be released swiftly.

Baton-wielding riot police broke up anti-corruption protests in Moscow and other Russian cities on Monday before a court sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to his second prison term this year.

“The sweeping action of the Russian authorities threaten the right to assembly and free speech that is guaranteed by the Russian constitution and to which Russia has committed itself within an international framework,” Gernot Erler, the German government’s coordinator for Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership, said in a statement.

“We will keep a close eye on developments in Russia and expect the arrested individuals to be released quickly.”

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Gareth Jones

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