Russian authorities stepped up pressure on jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny on Wednesday, as police raided his apartment and offices, as well as those of his allies and took his brother into custody ahead of new protests for his release this weekend. Al Jazeera quotes the head of Navalny’s FBK Anti-Corruption Foundation as saying police searched flats linked to Navalny as well as the organisation’s offices over alleged violations of coronavirus restrictions, while Russia’s Interior Ministry said earlier on Wednesday it had begun a criminal investigation into breaches of COVID-19 rules during the protests.