Police detain Putin critic Navalny ahead of Moscow protest

Navalny, who faces a possible 15-day jail sentence on charges of disobeying police, rose to prominence for detailed open-source investigations into government corruption.

Navalny himself was arrested Monday afternoon outside his home in Moscow as he headed for an unsanctioned protest rally.

His wife, Yulia, reported Navalny was detained at his Moscow home.

And in St. Petersburg, several teenage girls were arrested, as Financial Times journalist Max Seddon tweeted.

Navalny - - who plans to run against Vladimir Putin in next year's presidential election - said earlier they would go ahead regardless of whether the government allowed them or not.

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been reportedly detained by authorities as protesters engaged in a day of nationwide anti-corruption demonstrations clashed with police on Monday. Campaigners had hoped more than 10,000 people would attend in St. Petersburg and in Moscow.

In Vladivostok, where hundreds of people assembled for a protest, demonstrator Alexei Borenko said after eluding police attempts to detain him, that he was "here first of all because of the corruption in Russian Federation which is becoming incredibly big in Russian Federation".

"I want to protest against corruption and the fact that the authorities are not fighting it", said Alexander, an 18-year-old student brandishing the Russian flag.

"The United States strongly condemns the detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters throughout Russia", Spicer said, calling it "an affront to core democratic values".

As police detained demonstrators, hundreds of others shouted slogans including "Putin is a thief" and "Shame!"

Officials had given the OK for the rally, but Navalny late Sunday called for the location to change to one of Moscow's main avenues. It's a reference to a report by Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation from last fall, which said that a vacation estate frequented by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has a special house just for ducks. Reuters witnesses saw a police vehicle leaving Navalny's apartment compound at high speed, followed a few minutes later by a minibus carrying about 10 policemen. He said contractors hired to build a stage at the agreed-upon venue couldn't do their work.

The wave of protests called by Navalny coincides with a public holiday, Russia Day, with Putin handing out awards and holding a reception in the Kremlin. More than 1,000 people have been arrested across Russian Federation.

Navalny's website reported on Monday 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.

"While fulfilling the tasks on maintaining public order in the center of the capital a riot police serviceman of the Main Department of the National Guard in Moscow was injured". Security official Vladimir Chernikov told a Moscow radio station that the city did everything they could to make sure the protests could take place. More than 1,000 people were arrested during the protests that were aimed at applying pressure upon Putin, who is expected to be re-elected in the upcoming election. That was a key issue Monday for protesters, particularly his report on vast wealth allegedly acquired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

  • Leroy Wright