Russia must immediately set free peaceful demonstrators, Germany says


FILE PHOTO: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas listens to his counterpart Djordje Radulovic of Montenegro during their meeting in Berlin, Germany, January 15, 2021. Kay Nietfeld/Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany on Monday demanded the immediate release of peaceful demonstrators arrested on Saturday in Russia during rallies to support Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

"The Russian constitution gives everybody in Russia the right to express their opinion and to participate in demonstrations," Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said ahead of a meeting with his European Union counterparts in Brussels.

"For this reason we expect that those who demonstrated peacefully are released immediately," he added.

Russian police made more than 3,000 arrests on Saturday during demonstrations that attracted tens of thousands of people.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; editing by Thomas Seythal)

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