Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny detained by police during Moscow protest
MOSCOW — Russian police detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny in central Moscow on Sunday at a rally which Navalny had called to protest against corruption.
A Reuters reporter saw police detain Navalny on Moscow's Tverskaya Street and put him in a police truck. Hundreds of opposition protesters crowded around the police van and tried to prevent it from taking Navalny away.
A tweet from Navalny's account after the incident said: "Guys, I'm all right. Don't try to break me out. Go on walking down the Tverskaya [Street]. Our topic today is fight against corruption."
Russian protesters denouncing government corruption had gathered in cities across Russia and some have scuffled with police.
The Sunday protests appear to be one of the largest coordinated outpourings of dissatisfaction since the 2011-12 demonstrations following a fraud-tainted parliamentary election.
The demonstrations are driven by Navalny and focus on his recent claims that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has amassed a collection of mansions, yachts and vineyards.
In the Pacific coast port city of Vladivostok, police forcefully detained some demonstrators near the city's railway terminal, in one case falling down a small grassy slope as they wrestled with a detainee.
There were only cursory reports in Russian state media about the protests. News websites and social media, however, were reporting demonstrations in large cities throughout the country including Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk. Dozens of arrests were reported in Vladivostok.
Protesters planned to hold unsanctioned rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the afternoon.
Some demonstrators have showed up with their faces painted green, a reference to a recent attack on Navalny when an assailant threw a green anti-septic liquid onto his face.