Russian opposition leader Navalny seized amid protests

Russian opposition leader Navalny seized amid protests

Russian opposition leader Navalny seized amid protests

Within minutes of arriving at Pushkinskaya Square, where hundreds of protesters had gathered, Navalny was wrestled into a patrol van by police, in dramatic footage posted on Youtube.

Hundreds of his supporters have begun a nationwide day of protests against the authorities, they want voters to boycott what they believe will be a rigged presidential election on 18 March. Police said they were probing a bomb threat. Putin has held office, as either president or prime minister, since 2000. Blogger Alexei Navalny was detained in central Moscow on Sunday for violating rally organization's regulations, the Moscow police's press service told TASS on Sunday. By the end of the day, she said, 25 people had been detained in Murmansk, although all were later released.

The rallies reportedly took place in dozens of cities, with many of them having been approved by the local authorities.

Ahead of the Moscow rally police broke into Navalny's headquarters using a power saw, interrupting a live broadcast covering protests in the east of the country.

"You are not rallying for me, but for yourselves and your future", he tweeted.

Around 90 people were detained across the country, according to OVD-Info, an independent group which monitors crackdowns on demonstrations.

"To be honest, I don't support especially Navalny", Pavel Tikhonov, a 29-year-old who works for an global company, tells NPR's Kim.

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In an exclusive interview with CNN at his Moscow headquarters last week, Navalny accused the Putin administration of being "built on corruption" and warned of growing impatience for political change.

Police earlier raided Mr Navalny's Moscow office.

"These are not elections because we already know the result", Elena Ruzhe, 62, told AFP in Moscow.

As a police announcement intoned that walkways had to be kept clear, protesters shouted, "Putin's War", "Protest" and "Boycott".

The upcoming Spring elections are expected to deliver a fourth term in office for President Vladimir Putin.

He has condemned those charges as trumped up, saying they are created to thwart his political ambitions.

Navalny, an anti-corruption lawyer, was jailed three times previous year after bringing tens of thousands of people on to the streets for anti-Putin protests. "I try to change our life - our life in Russian Federation, I mean".

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