Kremlin: Thousands of arrests at protests necessary response

MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin said Thursday that thousands of arrests at protests against the jailing of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny were a necessary response to the unsanctioned rallies and strongly rebuffed Western criticism. Asked about the harsh treatment of thousands of detainees, who spent many hours on police buses and were put in overcrowded cells, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that they have to bear responsibility for joining the unsanctioned protests. Protests erupted after Navalny was arrested following his return from Germany where he was convalescing from a nerve-agent attack he blamed on the Kremlin. A Moscow court on Tuesday sentenced Navalny to two years and eight months in prison.