Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny arrested on way to protest, wife says

Alexei Dyumin

Russian police detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Monday as he tried to leave his home ahead of a planned anti-Kremlin protest in Moscow, his wife said, but she called for the demonstration to go ahead all the same.

Navalny himself was arrested Monday afternoon outside his home in Moscow as he headed for an unsanctioned protest rally.

Tens of thousands are rallying across Russian Federation to protest corruption and government stagnation, with many chants and signs aimed at Putin.

There have been several arrests at protests in the east of the country. He said contractors hired to build a stage at the agreed-upon venue could not do their work after apparently coming under official pressure.

City authorities granted permission to stage the rally outside the city center, but Navalny said in a YouTube video late on June 11 that he had moved it to Tverskaya Street, a main thoroughfare that leads to the Kremlin.

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It warned that authorities would take all necessary measures to prevent provocations or any action threatening public security.

The mood was tense as some groups of protesters vowed to go to the authorised location and anxious doing otherwise could get them arrested.

Alexei Navalny has reportedly been arrested once again, after he urged people to join an anti-corruption protest.

Demonstrations were being held or planned in more than 200 cities and towns to protest what Navalny says is a system of corruption and cronyism that President Vladimir Putin presides over.

The protests in March were called to demand the resignation of Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev.

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Authorities arrested Navalny and kept him detained for two weeks.

While Putin has yet to confirm his candidacy for the March 2018 polls, chief critic Navalny is already on a whistlestop tour of Russian Federation, opening campaign offices and trying to collect the 300,000 signatures needed to enter the race - despite doubts he'll be allowed to stand.

Mr Navalny, a former lawyer who was partly blinded after having a green liquid thrown in his face in April, has previously been jailed for his role in leading protests.

To mark Russia Day, the City Hall closed off Tverskaya Street to road traffic and set up a chain of events like reenactment of various eras in Russian history, from World War I trenches to a Rennaissance fair and swordfighting.

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