Russia Putin: Navalny urges people to join anti-corruption protests

Kremlin critic Navalny detained as supporters protest across Russia

Kremlin critic Navalny detained as supporters protest across Russia

Russian opposition leader is seen getting into a police vehicle as he was detained in front of his home on Monday.

Pretext for his arrest has been a call to move the rally in Moscow to an unsanctioned location.

Navalny, who was detained ahead of the protests while at his house, had urged Russians to participate in anti-corruption demonstrations.

A Moscow court, sitting late Monday, sentenced Navalny after finding him guilty of violating law regarding holding rallies.

An unlikely object of dispute emerged at the St. Petersburg demonstration: As Russian journalist Arseny Vesnin and others noted, a giant yellow duck was among those detained by police, after being batted around in the air by the crowd.

Navalny is now regarded as the most prominent opposition figure in Russian Federation. It turned out that the ink was likely mixed with another substance since one of his eyes suffered long-lasting damage.

After Navalny announced the switch, the Moscow prosecutor's office warned that "any attempts to hold an unauthorized event on Tversakaya Street" would be illegal and "law enforcement organs will be forced to take all necessary measures" to keep order. The charges stemmed from a high-profile investigation that was made public by Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation earlier this year.

The Moscow protest was the most prominent in a string of more than 100 rallies in cities and towns stretching through all 11 of Russia's time zones - from the Pacific to the European enclave of Kaliningrad - with many denouncing President Vladimir Putin.

Navalny has been convicted three times in financial-crimes trials that he calls Kremlin-orchestrated retribution for his activism, though he has been handed suspended sentences rather than actual prison time. Mr Navalny has announced his intention to run against him.

In May, Navalny was summoned to court over a libel suit filed by Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

The protesters chose Russia Day to make their voices heard, and Navalny called on those in Moscow to gatecrash a historical re-enactment on Tverskaya street in the city centre.

Prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been jailed for 30 days by a court in Russian Federation after authorities accused him of helping to organise public protests.

An actor, who takes part in the Russia Day festivities, walks past a police line in Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017.

In Moscow, a protest on Sakharov Avenue was approved by the authorities, but 17 hours before it was due to start Navalny posted a statement on YouTube with an "emergency" appeal to his supporters to come to the city center, on Tverskaya Street, blaming authorities' refusal to provide a stage and sound at the official venue.

The demonstrations, which coincided with Russia Day, were aimed at rattling the Putin administration.

There was also a large police presence in St. Petersburg, where protesters chanted "shame" during a rally at the Field of Mars park. "He is in the department of the Interior Ministry in the Danilovsky district", Navalny's lawyer Vadim Kobzev wrote on Facebook page. "Not only they robbed the whole country, but I'll miss Depeche Mode (British rock band) concert in Moscow because of them".

The OVD-Info rights group told AFP that more than 1,500 of his supporters were arrested during the protests across the country, including 823 in Moscow where riot police tried to push the crowds back, sometimes by beating them with batons.

Yulia, the wife of Alexei Navalny, said Monday that he was arrested outside his home en route to the centerpiece demonstration on the Tverskaya Street.

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