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Former Pope Benedict XVI Dead at Age 95



Former Pope Benedict XVI Dead at Age 95

Former Pope Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to resign in 600 years, died on Saturday at the age of 95 in the Vatican, according to a Holy See spokesman. “With sadness, I inform you that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died today at 9.34 a.m. in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” a spokesman said in a written statement.

According to the Vatican, Pope Francis will preside over his predecessor’s funeral on January 5.

Benedict, the first German pope in 1,000 years, stepped down in 2013 due to failing health, leaving behind a Catholic Church beleaguered by sexual abuse scandals, mired in mismanagement, and divided between conservatives and progressives.

He had good relations with his successor, but his continued presence inside the Vatican after he stepped down polarized the Church ideologically even more.

Concerned about Pope Francis‘s progressive moves, conservatives looked to Benedict as the defender of tradition. Several times, he had to tell nostalgic visitors, “There is only one Pope, and his name is Francis.”

Pope Benedict, a pianist and formidable theologian, was a weak leader who struggled to impose himself on the opaque Vatican bureaucracy and stumbled from crisis to crisis during his eight-year reign.

He repeatedly apologized for the Church’s failure to root out clergy sexual abuse of children, and despite being the first pope to take serious action against abuse, his efforts failed to halt a rapid decline in church attendance in the West, particularly in Europe.

Former Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI Resigns

In 2022, an independent report in his native Germany claimed Benedict failed to act in four abuse cases while serving as Archbishop of Munich between 1977 and 1982. After being shaken by the report, he apologized in an emotional personal letter and asked for forgiveness.

In a detailed rebuttal, his lawyers argued that he was not directly to blame.

Victims’ groups claimed that the evasive response squandered an opportunity arising from a scandal that shook the Church worldwide.

On February 11, 2013, Benedict shocked the world by announcing in Latin that he was resigning, telling cardinals that he was too old and frail to lead an institution with over 1.3 billion members.

It was always going to be difficult following the death of his charismatic predecessor, Pope John Paul II, in 2005, and Benedict admitted to difficulties in an emotional farewell address.

“There were happy and light moments, but there were also difficult moments.” “There were moments… when the seas were rough and the wind blew against us, and it seemed as if the Lord was sleeping,” Benedict said to a crowd of more than 150,000 people at his last general audience.

On February 28, 2013, Benedict took up residence at the papal summer retreat at Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, while cardinals from around the world gathered in the Vatican to elect his successor.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis’ election

Prior to formally stepping down, Benedict and his aides chose the title “pope emeritus” and decided he would continue to wear a white cassock, albeit a slightly modified version. Some in the Church objected, claiming that he had tied his successor’s hands.

They said he should have dressed like a cardinal or a priest in red or black.

Following Pope Francis’ election on March 13, Benedict moved into a converted convent on Vatican grounds to spend his final years praying, reading, playing the piano, and receiving visitors.

He appeared in public only on rare occasions, usually for major Church ceremonies, though he paid an emotional visit to his ailing elder brother Georg, a priest, in Bavaria in June 2020. Georg died soon after, at the age of 96.

Benedict did not keep his promise to remain “hidden from the world,” and his writings in retirement occasionally caused controversy and confusion.

In a 2019 essay for a German Church magazine, he blamed the crisis over priest abuse of children on the 1960s sexual revolution, what he called homosexual cliques in seminaries, and a general collapse in morality.

Critics accused him of attempting to shift blame away from the institutional Church’s hierarchy. Conservatives, however, rejoiced, and rallied to his defense.

pope Benedict and the cardinal

Benedict and the cardinal

The ambiguity surrounding Benedict’s role reached a head in January 2020, when it was revealed that he was involved in a book written by a conservative cardinal that some saw as an attempt to influence a document Pope Francis was preparing.

As a result, Francis fired Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Benedict’s secretary, from a top Vatican position. Many people believed Ganswein misled Benedict, the cardinal, or both as a middleman between Benedict and the cardinal.

Some Vatican officials have called for clear rules regarding the status of any future pontiff who resigns as a result of the incident.

Francis has stated that if he were to resign, he would prefer the title Emeritus Bishop of Rome, as suggested by some. He has also stated that he will not live in the Vatican but rather in a Rome home for retired priests.

Benedict, an uncompromising conservative on social and theological issues, literally cloaked himself in tradition during his papacy, frequently donning fur-trimmed capes and red shoes in public appearances — a stark contrast to his successor’s more humble, down-to-earth style.

He enraged Muslims by implying that Islam is inherently violent, and he enraged Jews by rehabilitating a Holocaust denier. The gaffes and blunders reached a climax in 2012, when leaked documents revealed corruption, intrigue, and feuding within the Vatican.

As a result of the “Vatileaks” case, his butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and convicted of passing secret documents to a journalist. Benedict later forgave him. Gabriele was hired at a Vatican-owned hospital and died there in 2020.

Pope Benedict

Gay Clergy Lobby

The media speculated that the saga, which exposed allegations of a gay clergy lobby operating against the pope, might have put pressure on him to resign. Benedict insisted on stepping down because he could no longer bear the full weight of the papacy, including the exhausting international travel required by the job.

In a book-length interview published in 2016, he acknowledged his flaws but stated that his papacy was not a failure.

“Perhaps one of my weaknesses is a lack of resolve in governing and making decisions. In reality, I am more of a professor, someone who reflects and meditates on spiritual issues,” Benedict stated in the book “Last Testament,” written by German journalist Peter Seewald.

“Practical government is not my strong point and that is certainly a weakness. But I don’t consider myself a failure.” On April 16, 1927, in the southern German village of Marktl, close to Austria, Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born.

During World War II, he was forcibly enrolled in the Hitler Youth and briefly held as a prisoner of war by the Allies, but he was never a member of the Nazi party.

“Neither Ratzinger nor any member of his family were National Socialists,” wrote John Allen, a leading Church expert, in a biography of Benedict.

Ratzinger was ordained as a priest in 1951 and rose to prominence as a liberal theological adviser at the Second Vatican Council, which convened in 1962 and resulted in profound Church reform.

pope benedict

God’s Rottweiler

The Marxism and atheism of the 1968 student protests across Europe, on the other hand, prompted him to become more conservative in order to defend the faith against growing secularism.

After stints as a theology professor and then Archbishop of Munich, Ratzinger was appointed in 1981 to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the successor office to the Inquisition, where he earned the epithet “God’s Rottweiler”.

After a period of experimentation, he and Pope John Paul agreed that traditional doctrine needed to be restored in the Church.

Ratzinger first addressed the popular “liberation theology” in Latin America, ordering the one-year silence of Brazilian friar Leonardo Boff in 1985, whose writings were criticized for using Marxist ideas.

Ratzinger applied pressure on theologians, primarily in Asia, who saw non-Christian religions as part of God’s plan for humanity in the 1990s.

Ratzinger’s office condemned “radical feminism” in a 2004 document as an ideology that undermined the family and obscured the natural differences between men and women.

Benedict sought to show the world the gentler side of his nature as Pope from 2005, but he never achieved the “rock star” status of John Paul or appeared particularly at ease in the job.

Child abuse scandals dogged him for the majority of his pontificate. He called for an official investigation into abuse in Ireland, which resulted in the resignation of several bishops.

During his pontificate, however, the Vatican’s relations with once-devoutly Catholic Ireland deteriorated. In 2011, Dublin closed its embassy to the Holy See.

pope benedict

Profound consternation

Victims demanded that the International Criminal Court investigate him. The Vatican ruled that he could not be held accountable for the crimes of others, and the court declined to hear the case.

In September 2013, he denied covering up the scandals. “As for your mentioning moral abuse of minors by priests, as you know, I can only acknowledge it with profound consternation.

“However, I never attempted to conceal these facts,” he wrote in a letter to Italian author Piergiorgio Odifreddi.

Benedict visited his homeland three times as Pope, confronting its dark past at the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in Poland. As a “son of Germany,” he prayed and asked why God was silent when 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, died there during World War II.

One of his trips to Germany triggered the first major crisis of his pontificate. In a 2006 university lecture, he quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor as saying that Islam had only brought evil to the world, which was spread by the sword.

Following protests that included attacks on churches in the Middle East and the killing of a nun in Somalia, the pope apologized for any confusion his speech had caused.

Later that year, in a move widely perceived as conciliatory, he made a historic trip to predominantly Muslim Turkey, praying in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque with the city’s grand mufti.


Offending the Jews

In 2008, the pope visited the United States, where he apologized for the sexual abuse scandal, promised that pedophile priests would be expelled, and consoled abuse victims. But Benedict made a series of errors in 2009.

After lifting the excommunication of four traditionalist bishops, one of whom was a notorious Holocaust denier, the Jewish world and many Catholics were outraged. Benedict later stated that the Vatican should have done more research on him.

Jews were offended again in December 2009, when he relaunched the process of resurrecting his wartime predecessor Pius XII, who was accused by some Jews of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust, after a two-year pause for reflection.

In March 2009, the Pope shocked the world by telling reporters on a plane flying to Africa that the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS only made matters worse.

Benedict preferred to appoint men he trusted at the Vatican, and some of his early appointments were questioned.

He appointed Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who had worked with him in the Vatican’s doctrinal office for years, as secretary of state, despite the fact that Bertone had no diplomatic experience. Bertone was later embroiled in a financial scandal involving the renovation of his Vatican apartment.

pope benedict

Pope Benedict wrote three encyclicals

Other religions criticized Benedict in 2007 when he approved a document that reiterated the Vatican’s position that non-Catholic Christian denominations were not full churches of Jesus Christ.

Critics saw his papacy as a concerted effort to reverse the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965, which modernized the Church in sometimes turbulent ways.

Some Council decisions were rewritten by Benedict to conform to traditional practices such as the Latin Mass and highly centralized Vatican rule. One of the themes he frequently returned to was the threat of relativism, which rejected the idea that moral values were not absolute but rather relative to those who held them and the times in which they lived.

Pope Benedict wrote three encyclicals, the most important type of papal document, including Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope), an attack on atheism, in 2007. The 2009 Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) declaration called for a rethinking of how the global economy is run.

Despite the difficulties that came with having two men dressed in white in the Vatican, Francis developed a warm relationship with the man who was once dubbed “the Panzer Cardinal” and described it as being like having a grandfather in the house.

“He speaks little… but with the same profundity,” Francis once said.

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Supreme Court Restores Trump To Ballot, Rejecting State Attempts To Ban Him Over Capitol Attack



Trump Facing 37 Felony Charges, Indictment Unsealed

Washington — On Monday, the Supreme Court overwhelmingly reinstated Donald Trump on the 2024 presidential primary ballot, rejecting state attempts to bar the Republican former President over the Capitol brawl.

The judges concluded a day before the Super Tuesday primaries that states cannot use a post-Civil War constitutional provision to exclude presidential candidates from appearing on ballots. That authority rests with Congress, the court wrote in an unsigned ruling.

On his social media network, Trump said shortly after the ruling was announced, “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!”

The case constituted the court’s first direct ruling on a presidential election issue in a generation, dating back to Bush v. Gore in 2000. However, it is unlikely to be the last, as Trump is facing four distinct criminal charges and has another Supreme Court appearance scheduled for April.

The verdict puts a stop to efforts in Colorado, Illinois, Maine, and other states to remove Trump, the front-runner for his party’s nomination, from the ballot due to his plans to recoup his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, culminating in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold expressed dismay with the court’s judgment, noting that “Donald Trump is an eligible candidate in Colorado’s 2024 Presidential Primary.”

Trump’s case was the first before the Supreme Court to address a section of the 14th Amendment created after the Civil War to prohibit former officeholders who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office again.

Donald Trump is facing four criminal indictments and a civil suit. You can keep track of all the cases here.

Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled, in a first-of-its-kind decision, that the provision, Section 3, may be applied against Trump, whom the court said incited the Capitol attack. No court had before applied Section 3 to a presidential candidate.

In their judgments on Monday, the judges avoided the politically charged question of insurrection.

The court ruled that states can disqualify applicants for state office. “But States have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the Presidency,” the court stated in its ruling.


Supreme Court Restores Trump To Ballot, Rejecting State Attempts To Ban Him Over Capitol Attack

While all nine justices agreed that Trump should be on the ballot, the three liberal members of the court and conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett disagreed that their colleagues went too far in determining what Congress must do to disqualify someone from federal office.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson agreed that upholding the Colorado decision could result in a “chaotic state-by-state patchwork,” but disagreed with the majority’s conclusion that a disqualification for insurrection can only occur when Congress enacts legislation. “Today, the majority goes beyond the necessities of this case to limit how Section 3 can bar an oathbreaking insurrectionist from becoming President,” the three justices wrote in a unanimous judgment.

It is still being determined whether the verdict allows Congress to refuse to certify Trump’s or any other presidential candidate’s election if it believes they violated Section 3.

Derek Muller, a legal professor at the University of Notre Dame, said, “It appears no,” noting that the liberals objected to the majority opinion eliminating any other options for Congress to implement the rule. Rick Hasen, a legal professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, said that Congress’s boundaries could be clearer.

Hasen was among those who urged the court to resolve the issue so that Congress would not reject Trump under Section 3 when electoral votes are counted on January 6, 2025.

“We may well have a nasty, nasty post-election period in which Congress tries to disqualify Trump but the Supreme Court says Congress exceeded its powers,” he warned in an email.

Both sides had asked for quick action from the court, which heard arguments less than a month ago, on February 8. The justices were preparing to decide in Trump’s favour.

Trump had been removed from the ballots in Colorado, Maine, and Illinois, but all three verdicts were on hold until a Supreme Court decision.


Supreme Court Restores Trump To Ballot, Rejecting State Attempts To Ban Him Over Capitol Attack

The lawsuit is the court’s most direct participation in a presidential election since Bush v. Gore, which effectively gave the 2000 election to Republican George W. Bush. And it’s just one of several cases involving Trump that could affect his chances of reelection, including a late April hearing on whether he can be criminally prosecuted on election interference charges, including his role in the January 6 Capitol attack. Trump has claimed ultimate protection from prosecution. The timing of the high court’s intervention has sparked speculation that Trump will be tried before the November election.

The hearings in February marked the first time the high court heard a case utilizing Section 3. The two-sentence rule, intended to prevent some Confederates from gaining office again, states that those who breach oaths to support the Constitution are forbidden from holding different posts, including congressional seats or acting as presidential electors. However, it makes no specific reference to the presidency.

Both conservative and liberal judges questioned the case against Trump. Their primary worry was whether Congress should intervene before states could invoke the 14th Amendment. There were also disputes over whether the provision covers the President.

The lawyers for Republican and independent voters who sued to remove Trump’s name from the Colorado ballot argued that there is ample evidence that the events of January 6 constituted an insurrection, which was incited by Trump, who had urged a crowd of his supporters at a rally outside the White House to “fight like hell.” They claimed it would be ludicrous to apply Section 3 to everything except the presidency or that Trump is somehow exempt. They contended that the provision does not require any enabling legislation.

Following the verdict, the President of the liberal-leaning organization that represented the voters cited the court’s silence on whether Trump incited the revolt. “They had the opportunity to exonerate Donald Trump, but they did not do so,” said Noah Bookbinder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.


Supreme Court Restores Trump To Ballot, Rejecting State Attempts To Ban Him Over Capitol Attack

Trump’s lawyers made various points on why the Amendment cannot be used to take him off the ballot. They claimed the January 6 disturbance was not an insurrection and that, even if it was, Trump did not go to the Capitol or join the rioters. They further stated that the Amendment’s text excludes the presidency and presidential contenders. They asserted that even if all of those reasons failed, Congress must approve legislation to resurrect Section 3.

The case was resolved by a court that included three Justices Trump chose as President. They have considered other Trump-related issues in recent years, rejecting his spurious accusations of fraud in the 2020 election and refusing to protect tax information from Congress and New York prosecutors.

The 5-4 judgment in Bush v. Gore, issued more than 23 years ago, was the last time the court became so involved in presidential politics. Only Justice Clarence Thomas remains on the bench from that time. Thomas has rebuffed requests from several Democratic senators to withdraw from the Trump lawsuit since his wife, Ginni, supported Trump’s effort to reverse the 2020 election results and attended the rally preceding Trump supporters’ assault of the Capitol.


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Haiti Declares State Of Emergency After Mass Prison Escape




Haiti’s government announced a state of emergency on Sunday after thousands of inmates reportedly escaped from the country’s largest jail during a spike of gang violence that has rocked the Caribbean nation for months.

According to a statement from Finance Minister Patrick Boisvert, who is acting prime minister, the government cited “deterioration of security,” particularly in the capital Port-au-Prince, and “increasingly violent criminal acts perpetrated by armed gangs,” including kidnappings and killings of citizens, violence against women and children, and looting.


Haiti Declares State Of Emergency After Mass Prison Escape

It also referenced Saturday’s attacks by armed groups on the country’s two major prisons, one in Port-au-Prince and one in Croix des Bouquets, which resulted in the escape of “dangerous prisoners” and the deaths and injuries of police and prison workers.

According to a United Nations source, some 3,500 detainees fled Haiti’s National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince over the weekend.

The source stated that there were 3,687 convicts in prison. The UN mission in Haiti monitors the country’s jailed population and the humanitarian conditions in its prisons.

According to Haitian lawyer Arnel Remy, who heads the Collective of Lawyers for the Defense of Human Rights in Haiti (CADDHO), 3,597 convicts escaped from the National Penitentiary. CNN cannot independently verify CADDHO’s data.

Remy claimed his team visited the prison on Sunday and told CNN that the remaining convicts are being sent to other facilities, and the prison is now vacant and encircled by police cars.

The Haitian Ministry of Communication claimed in a statement Sunday that police confronted “heavily armed criminals seeking at any cost to free people from custody” and were “unable to prevent the criminals from freeing a large number of prisoners.” The violence damaged multiple inmates and prison officials, according to the report.

On Friday, Haitian gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, popularly known as Barbecue, stated that he will continue to try to remove Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

“We urge the Haitian National Police and military to accept accountability and arrest Ariel Henry. Once again, the population is not our adversary, and armed groups are not your enemy. You capture Ariel Henry for the sake of the country’s liberation,” Cherizier stated, adding, “With these weapons, we will liberate the country and alter the country.”

Cherizier is a former police officer who now controls a gang alliance. The United Nations and the US Department of Treasury have sanctioned him.

Public dissatisfaction with Henry’s inability to quell the unrest reached a boiling point when he refused to resign last month, citing the rising violence.

According to an earlier agreement, he agreed to hold elections and relinquish authority by February 7.


Haiti Declares State Of Emergency After Mass Prison Escape

Caribbean leaders announced Wednesday that Henry has decided to hold general elections by August 31, 2025.

Earlier, in a post on X, one of Haiti’s police unions appealed for all officers in the capital to have access to automobiles and guns to support authorities in their efforts to keep control of the prison. It warned that if the attacks succeeded, “we’re done.” According to the statement, no one will be spared in the capital since there will be an additional 3,000 bandits.

Multiple security sources in Port-au-Prince told CNN that the most recent rise in violence, which began on Thursday and has targeted police stations, the international airport, and the prison, is unprecedented in recent memory.

The recent fighting occurred while Henry was visiting Kenya to discuss plans with Kenyan President William Ruto for the expected deployment of a multinational security support force to Haiti.

A Haitian law enforcement source told CNN that gangs have targeted various police stations throughout the city since Thursday, murdering at least four people and burning some of them down.

Meanwhile, a shooting near the airport on Thursday caused airlines to cancel flights.

The US Embassy in Haiti issued a security notice Friday, warning of gunfire and traffic interruptions between the domestic and international terminals, as well as other sites such as a hotel and the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police.


Haiti Declares State Of Emergency After Mass Prison Escape

In a statement sent Sunday, the embassy asked US people to leave the country due to violence and stated that it would operate on a restricted basis on Monday. The French Embassy in Haiti suspended visa and administration services on Monday.

In recent years, Haiti has experienced widespread turmoil and gang violence.

Warring gangs dominate much of Port-au-Prince, cutting off essential supplies to the rest of the country. Gang members have also tormented the urban area, forcing over 300,000 residents to evacuate their homes amid waves of indiscriminate slaughter, kidnapping, arson, and rape.

In January alone, about 1,100 people were killed, injured, or kidnapped, making it the most violent month in two years, according to the UN.


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Alexei Navalny: Hundreds Chant Defiance As They Bid Farewell To Navalny




Thousands of Russians ignored fear and turned out to say goodbye to opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

On February 16, President Vladimir Putin’s most vociferous critic died in jail.

Authorities had warned that any protest would be illegal. However, a large number of police officers stood by as the crowd yelled Navalny’s name or expressed their opposition to the Russian president.

Mr Putin’s supporters, relatives, and many international leaders have all blamed him for his death.

Russian authorities refute any such allegations, claiming Navalny died of natural causes. He was spending a lengthy sentence in an Arctic jail colony on fabricated charges.


Alexei Navalny: Hundreds Chant Defiance As They Bid Farewell To Navalny

Russian authorities refute any such allegations, claiming Navalny died of natural causes. He was spending a lengthy sentence in an Arctic jail colony on fabricated charges.

It was believed that authorities would crack down on Friday’s funeral.

Indeed, on Friday morning, a large police presence was seen in Maryino, the Moscow neighbourhood where the funeral was placed and where Navalny had resided with his family for many years.

Despite the grey winter’s day and temperatures hovering slightly around freezing, Navalny’s team estimated that the queue of people stretched for well over 1km (0.6 miles).

However, none of the police officers, many of whom were wearing full riot gear, intervened when expressions of support for Navalny became overtly political.

Thousands screamed “No to War,” “Russia Without Putin,” and “Russia Will Be Free,” sentiments that have previously cost numerous Russians in jail.

The memorial service started shortly after 14:00 Moscow time (11:00 GMT) at the Church of the Icon of Our Lady Quench My Sorrows.

It came after much confusion and protests from Navalny’s team that the authorities were making arrangements difficult, including locating a hearse.

However, hundreds began to come hours before the proceedings began. Foreign dignitaries, including ambassadors from the United States, Germany, and France, later joined them.

The ceremony inside the church was brief; a photograph on social media depicted an open casket, which is usual in Russia, with mourners paying their respects. Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila, and father, Anatoly, were spotted sitting together.

People threw flowers and carnations onto the hearse as the church bell tolled and Navalny’s casket was hauled outside, shouting, “We won’t forget you!”

Following the service, several people approached Lyudmila and hugged her, saying, “Thank you for your son” and “forgive us”.

Navalny’s widow, Yulia; his daughters Daria, 23; Zakhar, 15; and his brother, Oleg, are all believed to reside overseas and were absent.


Hundreds Chant Defiance As They Bid Farewell To Navalny

Yulia has lately stated that she will continue Navalny’s political activities, which may make it dangerous for her to return to Russia, where Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation has been branded an extremist organization.

While the burial occurred, she posted a heartfelt tribute on social media, praising Navalny for “26 years of absolute happiness”.

“I don’t know how to live without you, but I will try to do it so you – up there – can be happy and proud of me,” she said.

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation team took the initiative to provide live feeds of the burial proceedings without independent Russian media.

The YouTube channel from which Navalny frequently addressed his fans streamed footage from his funeral. More than a quarter of a million people tuned in all day.

The burial was finally held in Borisovskoye Cemetery around 16:00.

Navalny’s coffin was lowered into the ground to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s My Way and an orchestral version of the Terminator 2 theme song. “Navalny thought The Terminator 2 was the best film in the whole world,” his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh wrote on social media.

People continued to queue outside the cemetery as dusk fell, where a sign read: “Putin killed him but didn’t break him.”

“Now is not the time to be a coward. “Those people in our government are cowards because they are afraid of us,” one mourner told BBC Newshour. “We’re just humans with flowers and cemeteries. “That is all.”

By Friday evening, 45 people had reportedly been arrested throughout Russia for attending Navalny mourning rallies.

Overall, the brutal, broad crackdown that many had feared did not occur. In comparison, the authorities’ response to people leaving flowers at improvised memorials following Navalny’s death resulted in hundreds of arrests.

Police may seek out some people who attended today’s proceedings in the coming days. Earlier this week, it was claimed that surveillance cameras had been put around the cemetery.


Hundreds Chant Defiance As They Bid Farewell To Navalny

Before the funeral, First Department, a group of lawyers and human rights defenders, warned that detentions after the ceremony “could not be ruled out” and advised mourners to “stay under the radar of security forces – do not use public transport or apply for paperwork in the days after the funeral.”

Online initiatives, such as a website where people can light a “virtual candle” for Navalny, have drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Today was the greatest opposition gathering in Russia since Navalny’s imprisonment in January 2021.
Many mourners may have felt it was their final opportunity to join with thousands of like-minded people.

Navalny organised protests and marches for nearly a decade that drew tens of thousands of people in Moscow and elsewhere.

With him gone, it’s still being determined who else could get the level of public support he did.


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