Russian protesters march past govt headquarters

Violet Powell
January 29, 2018

Supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny shout slogans during a rally for a boycott of a March 18 presidential election in Moscow, Russia January 28, 2018.

The post came shortly after Navalny's Twitter account informed his followers that he too had been arrested while on his way to a rally on Moscow's busy Tverskaya street.

Mr Navalny was arrested after a brief appearance at rally in Moscow demonstrating against Vladimir Putin and calling for a boycott of the March presidential election that he said would be rigged.

Protesters expressed similar sentiments in the second city of Saint Petersburg where around 1,500 people rallied, some chanting "Russia without Putin" and "Putin is a thief". About 90 people were detained in cities in eastern and central Russian Federation by 2 p.m. Sunday in Moscow, according to OVD-Info, a monitoring group.

They had placards that read: "They've stolen the election from us" and "Elections without Navalny are fake".

In Yakutsk, protesters braved temperatures of -45 degrees Celsius, according to Navalny's campaign.

"This doesn't mean anything. You are not going there for me, it's for you and your future", Navalny tweeted after his arrest.

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At least 243 people were detained across the country, according to statistics from the police monitoring website OVD-Info.

The protests Sunday were unusual in their scope, with Navalny supporters organizing some 115 events across the country.

Police officers told those present that they were acting on a tip-off about a potential bomb threat, organisation officials said.

Mr Navalny was detained by police in central Moscow on Sunday after he made a brief appearance at a rally.

Last year Navalny mounted a forceful bid to run for president but officials ruled him ineligible due to a criminal conviction which he says is politically motivated.

Navalny and his supporters hope the election will be undermined by a low voter turnout.

He had called on his supporters to rally in more than 100 cities in a bid to put more pressure on the Kremlin after a series of mass protests past year. "People are not ready to wait another six years, then another six, then another".

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