Thousands risked arrest to say their final goodbyes to Russian leader Alexey Navalny

As the opposition leader was laid to rest, many gathered to say their final goodbyes to Alexey Navalny. Many of them sang his name and declared that they would not forgive Russian authorities for his murder. After the Kremlin issued a warning against “unauthorised” protests, large crowds of mourners flocked to a cathedral in southern Moscow on Friday, where they waited for hours to pay their respects to Navalny while being closely supervised by copious amounts of police.

 

As the dissident’s coffin was being brought out of a black hearse upon arrival at the church in the Maryino area, there were loud cries of “Navalny, Navalny,” and the path remained open in spite of the heavy presence of police and antiriot police trucks. Pallbearers brought his casket to the Borisovskoye cemetery in the capital following a brief service. A small group of musicians played as Navalny’s parents, Lyudmila and Anatoly, bent over his open casket and gave him one last kiss in a video that was webcast from the cemetery. Mourners crossed themselves and came forward to kiss his face, and a priest covered him tenderly with a white shroud. After then, the casket was sealed and dropped into the earth.

 

The most vocal opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Navalny, passed away on February 16 at the age of 47 in an Arctic prison colony. His followers claimed that he had been assassinated. Any governmental role in his death has been refuted by the Kremlin. According to Russia’s TASS news agency, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov had earlier issued a warning, saying that “unauthorised gatherings will be in violation of the law and those who participate in them will be held responsible”. The rights organization OVD-Info reported that it was aware of “at least 67 arrests in 16 towns” on Friday, six of which took place in Moscow during Navalny’s funeral.

 

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