Police arrested more than 400 protesters in Russia’s capital on Wednesday during a march calling for the punishment of those responsible for the arrest of an investigative reporter on trumped-up drug charges.

The march, which was not authorized by the authorities, had been planned to call for the release of Ivan Golunov, a Moscow-based investigative reporter with the Latvia-based Meduza news site. But after police dropped all charges against him on Tuesday in a surprise pivot following an unprecedented public outcry, more than 1,000 protesters demanded that those responsible for his arrest should be held to account, and raised their voices for lesser-known Russians detained under similar circumstances.


“Today is Russia Day isn’t it?” said Elena Stepanova, a 60-year-old pensioner, referring to the June 12 holiday celebrating Russia’s sovereignty instituted after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Well, we’re here to call for true independence — from those who would limit our rights.”