Navalny Detained at Election Boycott Rally

In Russia, police detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny at a rally in Moscow on Sunday.

A key Russian opposition leader has been detained as thousands march across Russia in support of a boycott against the upcoming presidential election.

Protests ranging from a few dozen to several hundred people were reported throughout the country. Rallies were held to oppose the upcoming presidential election.

"They have detained me", he wrote on Twitter. "Come to Tverskaya. You're not coming out for me, but for your future", the post said.

In a video message addressing his supporters following the commission's decision, Mr Navalny said: "We knew this could happen, and so we have a straight-forward, clear plan. There is nobody to vote for", the 27-year-old said.

Navalny was taken to a Moscow police station on charges of organizing an "unauthorized rally", police officials told TASS, a Russian news agency.

Navalny - seen as the only politician with enough stamina to take on Putin - has built a robust protest movement despite constant police harassment, tapping into the anger of a younger generation yearning for change. He can face a jail sentence of maximum 30 days. The BBC reported that the officials took equipment from the building.

At least 27 people have so far been detained across Russian Federation, including several at Mr Navalny's Moscow offices, according to reports.

Navalny himself served three jail sentences of 15 days, 25 days and 20 days for organising unauthorised protests past year. "If we take to the streets, then at least we have some kind of chance".

Several thousand turned up for the rally in Moscow where authorities dramatically beefed up security.

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In most cities, municipal authorities have not authorized the rallies.

They had placards that read: "They've stolen the election from us" and "Elections without Navalny are fake".

Mr Navalny, who has been blocked from running in Russia's March 18 presidential election, called for nationwide protests on Sunday.

Footage of Navalny's dramatic arrest spread quickly on Twitter Sunday.

Protesters gather during a rally at Pushkin square in Moscow on Sunday. Law enforcement authorities also cracked down hard at a protest in May 2012, the day before Putin returned to the Kremlin for his current term after a stint as prime minister.

  • Joey Payne