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Hundreds of Anti-Corruption Protesters Arrested In Moscow

13 Juin 2017

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".

Demonstrations were being held or planned in more than 200 cities and towns to protest what Navalny says is a system of corruption and cronyism that President Vladimir Putin presides over.

RUSSIA'S opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested yesterday before he could join thousands of demonstrators protesting against president Vladimir Putin.

Alexei Navalny, blue shirt, is detained by police outside his apartment in Moscow, Monday, June 12, 2017.

Police detained as many as 750 in Moscow and 900 in St. Petersburg, according to OVD-Info, an independent monitoring agency. However, public rallies protesting against corruption took place in cities and towns across Russian Federation today.

The demonstrators appeared to skew predominantly younger - those who were born or grew up during Putin's 17 years in power.

Mr Navalny has announced his candidacy for the presidential election in 2018.

Official Russian state media did not cover the protests, but Russia Today (RT) did - going so far as to tweet images of protesters being arrested and dragged by riot police.

The government had not approved the location of the protest and said it was unlawful.

The recent rallies were galvanized by a film released by Navalny in early March, which accused Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of controlling vast personal wealth through a shadowy network of foundations.

As the correspondent of the TV channel Jill Dougherty, the young people with whom she was able to talk, think about your future and about where we could go to the money "stolen by corrupt officials", "on education, bridges and so forth".

Protesters managed to circumvent the makeshift blockade, and there were reports Monday that the city had relented at the last minute and agreed to allow the protest march on the main boulevard.

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Despite the mass arrests in the March protests, the large turnouts on Monday prove that Navalny's campaign has managed to maintain momentum.

An unlikely object of dispute emerged at the St. Petersburg demonstration: As Russian journalist Arseny Vesnin and others noted, a giant yellow duck was among those detained by police, after being batted around in the air by the crowd. Navalny faces charges that he agitated people to participate in an unauthorized rally, which carry a 30-day prison term if he is convicted.

After the March rallies attracted an estimated 60,000, the biggest unrest in five years, Putin vowed to punish people who broke the law.

Authorities in Moscow had agreed to a location away from the city centre, but Navalny called for the protest to be moved to Tverskaya Street, one of the city's main thoroughfares, citing interference in building a stage for speakers at the agreed-upon venue.

The demonstrations coincided with Russia Day, a national holiday, and triggered a fierce response from riot police who quickly swept in to make arrests.

Tens of thousands of people still took to the streets, and more than 1,500 were arrested. Mr Navalny was fined and jailed for 15 days for his role in those protests.

The arrests began, Mary Louise says, after the crowd began chanting - something the authorities had warned them not to do.

Teenager Anna Meigan said she was detained as she protested in Moscow.

The number of people at Monday's demonstrations was still being debated on Monday evening.

The protests were called by Navalny, who is seeking to found a political movement against the Kremlin.

The government has yet to comment on the Moscow protests, which created severe disruption in the center of the city.

Hundreds of Anti-Corruption Protesters Arrested In Moscow