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Fears of Major Crackdown Grow After Russian Authorities Arrest Navalny Mourners

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The recent arrest of Navalny mourners in Russia has led to fears of a wider crackdown by the authorities. The mourning began after the death of leading opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny in a remote Arctic penal colony, and as thousands of Russians across the country tried to give voice to their grief, police officers responded with force and aggression.

One bishop who planned a public prayer for Navalny was detained as he left his house, while two men were arrested for simply having a photograph of Navalny in a backpack. Another man who laid flowers at a memorial was beaten by police officers for the small act of remembrance. These incidents were just a few examples of the crackdown witnessed across the country.

Many observers had initially believed that the Kremlin would limit repression until after the upcoming presidential elections, when President Vladimir V. Putin is all but assured a fifth term. However, the recent arrests have sparked fears of a broader crackdown, as the authorities are seemingly uneasy about any opinion that isn’t aligned with state propaganda.

The response from ordinary Russians to the oppression has been defiance. People have been laying flowers at impromptu memorials, such as at Solovetsky Stone, a monument to victims of political repression in the Soviet Union. They have also hung chains of paper cranes, candles, and photos of Navalny and fellow opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. In response, the authorities have detained at least 366 people in 39 cities across Russia, and 31 of them have been ordered to spend up to 15 days in jail, according to OVD-Info, a Russian-based human rights group.

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The government’s response to the outpouring of grief and opposition to the crackdown has been aggressive and pre-emptive. In cities like Samara, those who came to remember Navalny were required to have their passports photographed before being allowed to place their flowers in the snow. The official cause of Navalny’s death remains unclear, and his body has not been released to his family, raising questions and concerns about the circumstances of his death.

The crackdown on mourning has not spared religious leaders either. A bishop who was planning to perform a public prayer for Navalny’s death was detained and then hospitalized after suffering a stroke in police custody. While protests are effectively banned in contemporary Russia, religious leaders are legally allowed to hold services in public without prior consent, yet even this basic right has been undermined.

The severity of the crackdown has drawn condemnation from opposition politicians and activists, leading to calls for greater international attention and pressure on the Russian government. This matter has even engaged the larger religious community in the region, illustrating the broad impact and significance of Navalny’s death and the subsequent crackdown.

The recent events in Russia have raised concerns about the state of civil liberties and human rights in the country. The authorities’ attempts to silence and suppress mourning and dissent have highlighted the need for urgent international attention and condemnation of the repression taking place in Russia. The crackdown on Navalny mourners represents a deeply troubling turn of events in the country, and the world’s attention should remain focused on the situation as it continues to unfold.

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Fire Causes Partial Collapse of Historic Old Stock Exchange Building in Copenhagen

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Copenhagen’s Old Stock Exchange Building, also known as Borsen, is a historic landmark in the city that has stood for over 400 years. The building, famous for its intricate spire adorned with intertwined dragon tails, suffered a partial collapse in a devastating fire that broke out early Tuesday morning. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but images and videos shared on social media showed flames engulfing the roof of the building and billows of smoke rising into the sky.

The loss of Borsen has deeply affected the people of Copenhagen, as the building holds immense cultural and historical significance. Jakob Engel-Schmidt, Denmark’s culture minister, expressed his sorrow over the incident, highlighting the building’s unique Dutch Renaissance style and its role as a center of trade throughout the centuries. The police in Copenhagen swiftly evacuated nearby buildings and urged the public to steer clear of the area as emergency responders worked to contain the fire.

City officials scrambled to rescue valuable artifacts and historical paintings housed within the old stock exchange building. Among the prized works saved was Peder Severin Kroyer’s painting, “From Copenhagen Stock Exchange,” a renowned piece depicting Danish financial figures. The evacuation of these artworks was a crucial task undertaken amidst the chaos of the fire. Mr. Engel-Schmidt emphasized the importance of these cultural treasures in shaping the nation’s identity and lamented the loss of the building as a backdrop to countless historical events.

Politicians and officials, including Jan Jorgensen, a member of Parliament, mourned the destruction of Borsen and called for its reconstruction. The building, commissioned by King Christian IV, symbolized the vital role of trade and commerce in Denmark’s history. Its iconic structure, with market stalls and strategic waterfront location, served as a hub for economic activities for centuries.

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As firefighters battled the blaze, onlookers gathered in solemn silence, witnessing a piece of their heritage consumed by flames. Celeste Bolvinkil Andersen, a bystander at the scene, expressed her disappointment at not having explored Borsen before the fire ravaged it, capturing the sentiment of many who felt a personal connection to the historic building. The loss of Borsen leaves a void in Copenhagen’s skyline and collective memory, reminding residents of the fragility of their architectural heritage.

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