Russian police arrest Navalny at anti-Putin protest as thousands rally

Surrounded by supporters, the 41-year-old chanted "Swindlers and thieves" before being detained by police shortly afterwards at an unsanctioned gathering in the city centre amid heavy police presence.

Russian police arrest Navalny at anti-Putin protest as thousands rally

World Bulletin / News Desk

Russian police on Sunday detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny at a rally in Moscow which he had called to protest upcoming polls expected to extend Vladimir Putin's Kremlin term to 2024.

"I have been detained," Navalny tweeted. "This means nothing. Come to Tverskaya (Avenue)," he said, referring to Moscow's main thoroughfare.

"You are not rallying for me, but for yourselves and your future."

Heeding a call by President Putin's bete noire, thousands rallied in dozens of cities to protest upcoming "pseudo-elections," with many chanting and brandishing placards saying "Voters' strike."

Several thousand turned up for the rally in Moscow where authorities dramatically beefed up security, dispatching police vans and passenger buses to the city centre.

Around 90 people were detained across the country, according to OVD-Info, an independent group which monitors crackdowns on demonstrations.

"These are not elections because we already know the result. I will not go and vote," Elena Ruzhe, 62, told AFP in central Moscow.

"I'm not scared to protest," said the former culture ministry worker.

Protester Alexandra Fedorova, who wore a fur coat, said it was wrong not to let Navalny take part in the vote.

"I don't see a future. There is nobody to vote for," the 27-year-old said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Ocak 2018, 16:00