Thousands protest across Russia; Putin opponent arrested

Far From Moscow Thousands Turn Out To Protest Putin In Siberia's CapitalMore

Far From Moscow Thousands Turn Out To Protest Putin In Siberia's CapitalMore

One of those arrested was the opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, who organised the protests and has since been jailed for 30 days.

"I am much more concerned about Russia's future", she said.

At a midnight court hearing, a judge found him guilty of repeatedly violating the law on organising public meetings and sentenced him to 30 days in prison.

Navalny was detained outside his home an hour before the rally was to start. "Go for me, please!" he tweeted. Then, on March 26, tens of thousands of people turned out across Russian Federation for an "anti-corruption" protest.

Tverskaya Street, known in Soviet times as Gorky Street, is one of Moscow's main thoroughfares.

The White House condemned the arrests, with spokesman Sean Spicer demanding the immediate release of peaceful demonstrators.

He was briefly arrested along with some 1,000 people after protests in late March, which came following his allegations about corruption in the government.

Navalny's team had earlier said they expected between 45,000 to 50,000 people to attend the Moscow demonstration.

Over 800 people were arrested in Moscow, while in St. Petersburg, about 500 were forced into police buses at an unsanctioned rally that drew up to 10,000 people.

The young feminist is deeply opposed to President Vladimir Putin, who has been Russia's leader for 17 of her 21 years. Similar crowds turned out in March, rattling officials who had perceived the younger generation as largely apolitical.

Thousands turned out to voice dissatisfaction with the government on Monday, the latest in a series of demonstrations to engulf Russian Federation this year.

The 41-year-old's anti-corruption videos have needled the country's most powerful and drawn to the streets crowds unseen since a wave of protests against President Vladimir Putin's re-election to a third term in 2012.

Navalny's anti-corruption videos have provoked the country's most powerful officials, including one accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a Putin ally, of living far beyond his means.

Hundreds of protesters had been also detained during the March rallies against corruption.

On Monday, Alexei Borsenko, a Vladivostok demonstrator who eluded a police attempt to detain him, cited Iceland's prime minister stepping down in the fallout from the "Panama Papers" scandal, while "our prime minister is caught on such big corruption cases and he doesn't go anywhere".

By calling people to an unauthorised rally, Alexei Navalny knew he was risking a confrontation.

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

But Navalny was arrested Monday morning on his way to the protests.

"I want changes", wrote Navalny in a blog post last week. He said interference had prevented contractors from building a stage at the agreed venue.

By moving the protest to the city center, to a wide road that leads straight to Red Square, and to the Kremlin beside it, Navalny managed to send a strong message of resilience to Putin.

According to OVD-Info, a nongovernmental organization, nearly 700 people have been arrested in Moscow, and hundreds more in St. Petersburg.

The clash of the celebrations with the protests caused confusion as re-enactment props such as sandbags were mistaken as props to keep protesters away.

So the opposition leader called for a march through central Moscow instead.

Demonstrators shout slogans during an anti-corruption protest in central St. Petersburg, Russia, Jun 12, 2017.

Under the Russian Law, applications need to be filed with the authorities for any public events. He was later detained by police and taken to a police station.

A number of sanctioned opposition protests were held across other Russian cities.

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