Alexei Navalny arrested as thousands in Russian Federation demonstrate against Vladimir Putin inauguration

Alexei Navalny arrested as thousands in Russian Federation demonstrate against Vladimir Putin inauguration

Kerry Wise
May 5, 2018

As police grabbed Navalny some supporters shouted "Shame" in Ukrainian, a famous slogan of the Kiev uprising that ousted a Kremlin-backed regime in 2014.

OVD-Info, which tracks political repressions, said more than 50 people were arrested in Moscow, including protest organizer Alexei Navalny, a relentless the anti-corruption campaigner and dogged Putin foe.

Police warned it would use force and "impact munition" to disperse the rally. A helicopter hovered overhead to monitor the crowd.

In the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, around 1,500 kilometres east of Moscow, a reporter saw a crowd of more than 1,000 people protesting, some shouting "Down with the Tsar!" Observers have expressed fears that the protests could lead to clashes with police and mass arrests after similar rallies in 2012 led to a huge crackdown on the protest movement.

At least ten protesters were detained in the Siberian city of Barnaul, Navalny's team said.

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Ahead of the rallies, several members of his team across Russian Federation have been detained, said OVD-Info, an independent monitoring group.

"Thousands are expected to take to the streets in Moscow and other Russian cities on Saturday, and it is their right to protest".

Putin, who has been president or prime minister since 1999, is to be sworn in to a new six-year presidential term on May 7 after winning a March 18 election that opponents said was marred by fraud and global observers said gave voters no real choice.

Demonstrators are holding protests throughout Russia against the upcoming inauguration of Vladimir Putin for a fourth term as Russian president.