Putin critic Navalny, eyeing power, organizes anti-graft protests

Putin critic Navalny, eyeing power, organizes anti-graft protests

The anti-corruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny was also arrested this morning as he was leaving the block of flats where he lives, and charged with the administrative offence of repeatedly violating the rules of public assemblies (punishable by up to 30 days' detention).

Russian authorities detained the 41-year-old and almost 1,000 of his supporters earlier Monday, majority in Moscow.

Navalny has proven to be a strategic thinker compared to other opposition leaders, who often spent more time squabbling among themselves than trying to expand their base beyond Moscow and St. Petersburg.

"We are cancelling the rally on Sakharova (street) and relocating our very peaceful event to Tverskaya (street)", Navalny said.

Moscow authorities had agreed to a location for a protest rally in the capital, but Navalny at the last minute called changing it to one of Moscow's main thoroughfares, citing interference in building a stage at the agreed-upon rally site.

Earlier in April, Navalny was released from custody after serving a 15-day sentence for "disobeying the police during an unauthorized rally" which he received after the March 26 anti-corruption protests in Russian Federation.

Russian police say Navalny has been arrested on charges of that could bring him 15 days in jail.

Navalny was detained Monday along with hundreds of his supporters throughout the country in anti-corruption protests aimed at Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies. The protest gatherings across the country were organized by Alexei Navalny, a critic of Vladimir Putin's government.

Ironically, Monday was a day of celebration for Russian Federation as it was observing National Day on June 12.

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

More than 800 people were arrested in Moscow, while in St Petersburg, about 500 protesters were forced into police buses at a rally which drew an estimated 10,000 people.

The protests were the second mass action since March called by Navalny, who has announced his intention to run for president next year and has drawn a new generation to the streets through a relentless online campaign.

School and university staff who reportedly reprimanded their students for attending the March protests warned them against going to Monday's rally. Police arrested 1,500 people nationwide, including more than 1,000 in Moscow, and a handful are being prosecuted for attacking police.

Local media said roughly 3,000 people protested in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk.

Back then, eight lone protesters dared to go on Moscow's Red Square to protest the invasion.

The demonstrators appeared to be mostly young people - those who were born or grew up during Putin's 17 years of leading Russian Federation. Medvedev has called the accusations politically motivated "nonsense" and called Navalny a charlatan. Several hours into the protest, police closed off Moscow's main drag - which had been made into pedestrian zones for the Russia Day celebrations - and began using brute force to cordon off protesters, and some journalists, which caused several stampedes. "Either we leave the country or we fight for it". And many on social media have pointed out that the majority of protesters appear to be teenagers, many of them teenage girls.

In March, Navalny, whose Fund for Combating Corruption (FBK) specializes in producing investigations into the supposed ill-gotten gains of senior officials, released a video report detailing how Medvedev has allegedly acquired mansions, vineyards and a yacht worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

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