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The detention of over a thousand demonstrators and violence used against them by the Russian authorities across the country today threaten the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly in the Russian Federation. The detention of journalists also threatens the freedom of the media. These fundamental rights are enshrined in the Russian constitution and we expect them to be protected, not eroded. Even if some of the demonstrations were not authorised in the location where they took place, this cannot justify police brutality and mass arrests.
The European Union expects the Russian authorities to abide fully by the international commitments Russia has made, including in the Council of Europe and the OSCE, to uphold these rights, and release without delay peaceful demonstrators and journalists.