'Putin is a killer': Protesters surround Russian embassies after Alexei Navalny's death

Protesters gather round Russian embassies across the world. Credit: AP

Protesters have surrounded Russian embassies across the world, calling for the Kremlin to be held accountable over the death of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

In central London, those gathered chanted “Putin is a killer”, and held up signs with slogans including “Putin will never stop killing”, “we are Navalny”, and "don’t give up”.

Alexei Navalny, who crusaded against Russian government corruption and staged massive anti-Kremlin protests, was the greatest political threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian authorities said he died in prison on Friday. His mother then confirmed his death via a spokesperson on Saturday.

Protesters in Serbia. Credit: AP

Images of the 47-year-old were left near the embassy, alongside a number of floral tributes.

In Russia, protesters gathered with posters saying 'bloodymyr' and mourners shed tears at the Memorial to Victims of Political Repression in St Petersburg.

In Moscow and other Russian cities police officers have detained more than 100 people who were paying their respects in St Petersburg.

Protests also took place in Germany, Serbia, Turkey and Argentina.

Police officers detain a woman who laid flowers to Alexei Navalny at the Memorial to Victims of Political Repression in St. Petersburg. Credit: AP

Navalny had been behind bars since January 2021, when he returned to Moscow after recovering in Germany from nerve agent poisoning which he blamed on the Kremlin.

Since then, he was convicted three times, and rejected each case as politically motivated.

According to a Russian news agency, he became unwell after a walk on Friday and lost consciousness.

Protesters stage a demonstration opposite the Russian Embassy in London. Credit: AP

An ambulance arrived, but he died despite attempts to resuscitate him, it said.

Britain has joined other western countries in condemning the Kremlin.

Speaking to broadcasters as he attends the Munich Security Conference on Friday, Lord Cameron said: “We should hold Putin accountable for this, and no-one should be in any doubt about the dreadful nature of Putin’s regime in Russia after what has just happened.”

The Foreign Office said on Friday it has “summoned the Russian Embassy to make clear that we hold the Russian authorities fully responsible”.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said Mr Navalny’s death must be “investigated fully and transparently”.

A women reacts at a protest opposite the Russian Embassy in London. Credit: PA

They said: “Alexei Navalny dedicated his life to exposing the corruption of the Russian system, calling for free and open politics, and holding the Kremlin to account.

“We stand today with his family, friends, colleagues and supporters. Our thoughts go out to them.

“The Russian authorities saw Mr Navalny as a threat. Many Russian citizens felt he gave them a voice.

“In recent years, the authorities imprisoned him on fabricated charges, poisoned him with a banned nerve agent, and sent him to an Arctic penal colony. No-one should doubt the brutal nature of the Russian system.”

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