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US expresses concern over arrests in Russia
People were peacefully demonstrating their support for Article 31 of the Russian Constitution.
Washington: The US has expressed its concern over the detention of Russian citizens who were participating in peaceful rallies to demonstrate their support for Article 31 of the Russian Constitution.
Around 150 people, including two prominent opposition leaders, were on Thursday arrested by the Russian police in Moscow and St Petersburg.
Article 31 guarantees Russian citizens the right to peaceful assembly.
"The United States reiterates the importance of embracing and protecting universal values, including freedoms of expression and assembly, enshrined in the Russian Constitution as well as in international agreements Russia has signed," said Tommy Vietor, spokesman of the National Security Council.
"Freedom of assembly and freedom of expression are not only vital ingredients of sound political systems, they are essential for economic modernisation and broad based prosperity," he said.
Without the freedom of assembly, it would be impossible to foster genuine competition during Russia's upcoming parliamentary elections in December, the official added.
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