Hundreds arrested in Russian corruption protests

Russian police officers talk as they stand behind barricades in downtown Moscow Russia Monday June 12

Moscow braced for a day of unauthorized protests on Monday after prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny changed the location of an anti-corruption demonstration despite police warnings. But on the eve of the demonstration, Navalny issued a video message calling for protesters to instead come to the city's main avenue, Tverskaya, a broad, four-lane thoroughfare. At first people planned to match, without their leader Navalny, who was arrested as soon as he came out of his apartment building.

"[Alexei] Navalny fights corruption, and is hope for the future of my country". I can assure you that this is not about Navalny. Then, on March 26, tens of thousands of people turned out across Russian Federation for an "anti-corruption" protest. After his detention, his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, tweeted that he had urged protesters to continue onto central Tverskaya Street, despite the authorities' warning.

As media outlets and several photo agencies in Russian Federation noted, those calls appeared to have been heard.

Thousands of people took part in anti-corruption protests across Russian Federation on Monday in a new show of defiance by an opposition that the Kremlin had once written off as ineffectual and marginalized.

While the protests have previously been marketed more as "anti-corruption" demonstrations rather than an indictment of Russia's government, Monday's turnout seemed to indicate that protesters have become bolder and more willing to speak out.

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.

Navalny was among those arrested Monday.

In Moscow, however, authorities said that what happened today was "a 100-percent provocation by retarded people", who tried to spoil the holiday mood.

Riot police guard as demonstrators take part in an anti-corruption protest in central St. Petersburg, Russia, June 12, 2017. Around 5,000 people reportedly rallied in Novosibirsk, a Siberian city that saw its biggest crowds since 1991, when residents called for the end of the Soviet Union.

Mr Navalny's website reported that protests were held in more than half a dozen cities in the Far East, including the major Pacific ports of Vladivostok and Khabarovsk and in Siberia's Barnaul.

The demonstrations were a follow-up to large-scale protests that swept Russian Federation in late March.

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More than 1,000 protesters were arrested at a similar rally on March 26.

On his blog last week, he wrote: "I want changes".

Navalny has brought a new generation to the streets through his embrace of YouTube, and his team was broadcasting from a studio set up in Moscow, though the electricity was periodically cut forcing the presenter to speak in total darkness. Navalny was ordered jailed for 30 days for staging an unsanctioned protest. But before he could even attend, Navalny was detained outside his home, accused of organizing a public rally without permission, sent to court and now faces a hefty fine. In Moscow, more than 150 were detained in the city's downtown "for violating public order", says state-run Tass media.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested across Russian Federation.

"Some contractors refuse (to provide equipment) straight away, others when they learn about the geolocation", Navalny told RT, alleging that equipment suppliers were being "pressured" not to work with him, regardless of the money he offered.

Navalny's Fund for Fighting Corruption had been providing updates on protests throughout the country Monday.

There was no immediate comment from police on why Navalny had been arrested or where he was taken.

Although it was not immediately clear if Monday's protests were larger in aggregate than the March demonstrations, the rallies underlined the deep dismay with the government.

The Kremlin says Russian authorities would not pay attention to United States calls to release anti-government demonstrators who were detained during protests organised by opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

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