Putin critic Navalny, eyeing power, organizes anti-graft protests

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. He was arrested at his home in Moscow roughly an hour before it was due to start. "I work in a construction company and everything is mired in corruption".

Photographs and videos posted on Twitter showed large numbers of police at Tverskaya Street in the capital, a main thoroughfare near the Kremlin.

White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said that the United States condemned Russian Federation for arresting peaceful protesters. The government had not approved the location of the protest and said it was unlawful.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny took a gamble on Monday.

Tens of thousands of protesters held anti-corruption rallies across Russian Federation on Monday in a show of defiance by an opposition that the Kremlin had once dismissed as ineffectual and marginalized.

The protests Monday were again focused on alleged corruption among senior officials and centered in particular on Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who Navalny has accused of amassing a property empire through sham charitable schemes. Over 150 people were detained in Moscow during the unauthorized protest, the police said.

The protesters decision to disrupt a large public event was an usually strident public demonstration in Russian Federation, appearing to illustrate the emboldened attitude of those who have coalesced around Navalny's calls for protest. Putin is expected to seek another term in 2018, and Navalny has already announced his intentions to run. Demonstrations of several hundred to more than 2,000 were reported in cities across the country.

Authorities detained Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and almost 1,000 of his supporters Monday.

"We are against the corruption that is costing the future of our young people", said Maria Badyrova, a protester in Moscow.

Some protested alongside people in medieval clothing, the AP reported.

Turnout was hard to calculate as ordinary people mingled with those protesting, but thousands filled the Tverskaya Street area in Moscow, many waving Russian flags and banners. "Do you want a new Bolotnaya [a mass protest on Bolotnaya Square in 2012 that resulted in numerous detentions]?"

Why was Alexey Navalny arrested? He said interference had prevented contractors from building a stage at the agreed venue.

Mr. Navalny's team have been broadcasting about the various actions from a studio set up in Moscow, but it went off air just as Mr. Navalny was being picked up by police.

The OVD-Info rights group told AFP that more than 1,500 of his supporters had been 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. Recent protests in Russian Federation have been met with harsh resistance, a trend Monday's events only asserted.

The opposition leader, who plans to run against Vladimir Putin in next year's presidential election, had mobilised support on social media platforms for the protests.

The Moscow authorities had approved a rally, organized by the opposition, for June 12 between 1.30 p.m. and 4.00 p.m. Moscow time from 38 Mashy Poryvayevoy Street to 9 Sakharov Avenue.

Similar rallies led by Mr Navalny in March led to hundreds of arrests.

The arrest did little to hamper protests, some of the biggest the country has seen in years.

Russian authorities warned the public and declared the planned rally in the capital was illegal. After opposition activist Ilya Yashin, 33, was detained and put in a police bus, he tweeted an image from inside, showing himself with a half-dozen youths in Moscow. The Guardian described crowds of "mainly young protesters" chanting anti-Putin slogans.

"Alexei was detained at the entrance of the house", his wife, Julia Bulk, wrote on Navalny's Twitter feed.

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