MOSCOW — Police officers raided the apartments and offices of the opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny and of his allies on Wednesday, increasing pressure on the Kremlin’s loudest critic ahead of more protests planned this weekend in his support.
The raids signaled that the authorities are gearing up for a new legal strike against Mr. Navalny’s team after demonstrations last weekend drew tens of thousands of Russians to the streets of more than 100 cities. At least some of Wednesday’s raids involved allegations that coronavirus restrictions had been violated at the rallies, Mr. Navalny’s allies said.
Mr. Navalny himself remains in jail after being arrested upon his return to Russia on Jan. 17, facing a court hearing next week on alleged parole violations that could result in a yearslong prison sentence.
He had spent the previous five months recovering in Germany from a poisoning that he described as an assassination attempt by the Russian state — and his return helped precipitate the biggest anti-Kremlin protests in years.
His supporters hope that public pressure will lead the Kremlin to release Mr. Navalny, but Wednesday’s raids suggested that it had no intention of doing so. Raids were conducted at Mr. Navalny’s apartment and that of his wife, his YouTube studio, his foundation’s office and the homes of at least four close associates.
The Kremlin denies having anything to do with Mr. Navalny’s poisoning.
On Wednesday, police officers came to the home of Mr. Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, and forced their way into her apartment despite her insistence that they wait for her lawyer to arrive, according to video from the scene.
“They’ve broken my door and
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