A Russian anti-corruption journalist detained on suspicion of drug trafficking has dropped all charges against him.
The arrest of 36-year-old Ivan Golunov, who was arrested last Thursday and wept in tears when he appeared in court on Saturday, sparked anger among his followers who claimed he was convicted.
Before the police withdrew, nearly 25,000 people on Facebook had committed to attend a protest march in Moscow on Wednesday in solidarity with Mr. Golunov.
The authorities had stated that the planned demonstrations had no authorization and could jeopardize public safety.
Mr. Golunov is known for revealing corruption among city officials, and he strongly denied the allegations against him.
It is alleged that Russian journalists have been threatened, physically assaulted and even murdered for their work since the 1990s – critical of authorities.
On Tuesday, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said in a statement that the allegations against Mr. Golunov "were not proven."
He said, "I believe the rights of every citizen, regardless of profession, must be protected."
He added that some police officers involved in the case were temporarily removed from office until an investigation was initiated, and that he intended to call on President Vladimir Putin to release more senior police officers.