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World 'More than 1,200' arrested as anti-Putin protests held across Russia

10:56  06 may  2018
10:56  06 may  2018 Source:   news.sky.com

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Original Article: Vladimir Putin 's most vocal critic, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, has been arrested after he urged his supporters to join him at anti -corruption protests across Russia on Monday (12 June), a national holiday.

Riot police confront supporters of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny as president marks 65th birthday.

Police officers detain a protester at an anti-Putin rally in Moscow© Getty Police officers detain a protester at an anti-Putin rally in Moscow

Protests against Vladimir Putin have taken place across Russia ahead of his inauguration for a fourth presidential term, with more than 1,200 people arrested.

Police removed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny from a rally in Moscow's Pushkin Square, carrying him off by his arms and legs.

Officers used batons against protesters, with many in the crowd chanting "Putin is a thief!" and "Russia will be free!"

Part of St Petersburg's famous avenue Nevsky Prospekt was blocked off by police as a crowd of roughly 1,000 demonstrators marched through the city.

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More than 260 people have been detained across Russia as jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s supporters staged protest rallies on Vladimir Putin ’s 65thbirthday. Dozens were arrested in Putin ’s hometown of St Petersburg, Russia ’s second biggest city.

The country's interior ministry said about half of the 1,200 arrests happened in Moscow, but monitoring group OVD-Info put the number at more than 1,600 across 20 cities.

Mr Putin's critics say he is more of a tsar than a democratic leader.

Mr Navalny, who has been repeatedly detained and jailed for organising protests, published a message ahead of the marches saying: "If you think that he is not our tsar, take to the streets of your cities.

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The protest in St Petersburg was just one of more than 80 anti - Putin rallies that took place across Russia on Saturday, after Navalny was sentenced to 20 days in prison on Monday for organising “unsanctioned public rallies.”

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has worked to organize protests in support of his presidential bid across Russia on Saturday, President Vladimir Putin 's birthday. Protests were held in around 80 cities throughout the country. More than 270 people were detained nationwide, more than 60 of them

"We will force the authorities, made up of swindlers and thieves, to reckon with the millions of citizens who did not vote for Putin."

Rallies against Putin have been organised in more than 90 towns and cities© Getty Rallies against Putin have been organised in more than 90 towns and cities Mr Navalny called for rallies in more than 90 towns and cities, including Moscow and St Petersburg.

A Twitter account supporting Mr Navalny posted images from the protests, showing a stream of people waving Russian flags and carrying red balloons.

The authorities regard most of the protests as illegal, arguing that their time and place was not agreed with them beforehand.

One activist told a crowd in the city of Khabarovsk: "Putin has already been on his throne for 18 years! We've ended up in a dead end over these 18 years. I don't want to put up with this!"

Mr Putin, 65, was re-elected in a landslide victory in March - extending his grip over the world's largest country until 2024. He will be inaugurated on Monday.

He has been in power, either as president or prime minister, since 2000.

His victory makes him the longest-lasting leader since Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who ruled for nearly 30 years.

Mr Putin boasts an approval rating of around 80%. He is backed by state TV and the ruling party.

Supporters see him as a father-of-the-nation figure who has restored national pride and expanded Moscow’s global power.

Mr Putin has dismissed Mr Navalny, who was barred from running in the presidential election on what he said was a trumped-up pretext, as a troublemaker bent on sowing chaos on behalf of Washington.

Russian opposition leader Navalny gets 30-day jail sentence .
A court in Moscow has sentenced Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to 30 days in jail for staging an unauthorized protest in Moscow and resisting police. Navalny organized a series of protests on May 5 in the Russian capital and other cities before President Vladimir Putin's inauguration for a new term. Demonstrations under the slogan "He is not our czar" took place throughout the country.

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