Navalny buried in Moscow as thousands chant his name

By REUTERS
March 02, 2024
Mourners attend a funeral ceremony for late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny at the Borisovo cemetery in Moscow's district of Maryino. — AFP

MOSCOW: Thousands of Russians chanted Alexei Navalny’s name and said they would not forgive the authorities for his death as the opposition leader was laid to rest in Moscow on Friday.

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In video streamed from the Borisovskyoe cemetery, Navalny’s mother Lyudmila and father Anatoly stooped over his open coffin to kiss him for the last time as a small group of musicians played.

Crossing themselves, mourners stepped forward to caress his face before a priest gently placed a white shroud over him and the coffin was closed.

Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critic inside Russia, died at the age of 47 in an Arctic penal colony on Feb 16., sparking accusations from his supporters that he had been murdered. The Kremlin has denied any state involvement in his death.The authorities have outlawed his movement as extremist and cast his supporters as US-backed troublemakers out to foment revolution. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had nothing to say to Navalny’s family.

Many thousands of people turned out to pay their respects at the cemetery and outside the Soothe My Sorrows church in southeast Moscow where Orthodox priests held a short funeral service before the body was taken to the cemetery.

Among the large crowd, many people clutched bunches of flowers and some joined in chants - “Russia will be free”, “No to war”, “Russia without Putin”, “We won’t forgive” and “Putin is a murderer.” Police were present in large numbers but did not intervene.

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