Russian protest leader Navalny detained at anti-Putin rally

Casey Dawson
May 6, 2018

As of Saturday afternoon local time, about 1,000 people had been arrested, including almost 500 in Moscow, according to OVD Info, a monitoring group that tracks detentions.

"About 300 people have been detained for public order violations during an unsanctioned public event in downtown Moscow and hauled off to police precincts for questioning", the police said noting the issue of holding them accountable was under consideration.

News reports and social media postings said protests had attracted hundreds or more in at least a dozen cities in the Far East and Siberia earlier in the day.

He describes the protests as a form of opposition to what he calls Putin's "autocratic tsar-like rule".

Navalny had called for demonstrations in more than 90 towns and cities across Russian Federation against what he says is Putin's autocratic, tsar-like rule. He will be inaugurated on Monday. It said 704 were arrested in Moscow alone, and another 229 in St. Petersburg.

Anti-corruption activist Navalny was prohibited from running in the March presidential election in which Putin won 77 per cent of the vote for his fourth term as president.

Reuters Policemen detain opposition supporters during a protest ahead of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration ceremony in Moscow.

It is noted that the detentions are held simultaneously with the brawls between the supporters of Navalny and the сossacks, who arrived at Pushkin Square and started beating people with whips.

A protester tries to brake through a police line during a demonstration against President Vladimir Putin in Pushkin Square in Moscow, Russia.

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Two AFP journalists said some sort of gas was also briefly used but it was not immediately clear who used it.

Mr Putin's critics say he is more of a tsar than a democratic leader.

Police warned it would use force and "impact munition" to disperse the rally.

Arrests were made at rallies in 23 cities throughout Russian Federation, including St Petersburg, according to the monitor.

Navalny will be charged with organizing an unauthorized meeting, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"The country needs changes", a 20-year-old protester, Stepan Duvanov, said in Saint Petersburg.

The protests demonstrated that Navalny's opposition, although considered beleaguered by Russian officials and largely ignored by state-controlled television, has sizeable support in much of the country.

In Novokuznetsk, police detained 26 protesters taking part in the rally there.

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