Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny 'arrested on way to protest'

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny 'arrested on way to protest'

The protest Monday was part of a day of demonstrations throughout Russian Federation spearheaded by Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who has emerged as Russia's most prominent opposition figure and who has announced he intends to run for president next year.

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

The lawyer and political activist had earlier urged his supporters to join demonstations planned across the country for Monday June 12, which is also a national holiday in Russian Federation.

A rally in Novosibirsk, Russia's third-largest city that's nearly 3,000 kilometers east of the capital, brought out about 5,000 people, local organizer Sergey Boyko said on Navalny's YouTube broadcast. He said the authorities pressured providers of audio, video, and stage equipment not to work with the organizers.

"We are cancelling the rally on Sakharova (street) and relocating our very peaceful event to Tverskaya (street)", Navalny said.

After the change, Moscow police warned that "any provocative actions from the protesters' side will be considered a threat to public order and will be immediately suppressed".

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

More unsettled weather for much of this week
Tuesday , it will be sunny with a high near 81, the weather service said, and an east northeast wind of 8 to 10 miles per hour . Southeast winds will stay between 10 to 15 miles per hour , becoming south around 5 miles per hour after midnight.

In statements to a local radio station, Moscow's police chief Vladimir Chernikov warned that officers would detain anyone caught breaching peace with placards and slogans.

On everyone's lips is the huge protest on Monday to demand an inquiry into corruption at the highest echelons of power.

Navalny's Fund for Fighting Corruption had been providing updates on protests throughout the country Monday.

Navalny, who is mounting a long-shot bit to unseat Putin in a presidential election next year, had called for mass protests in Moscow and other cities against what he says is a corrupt system of rule overseen by Russian President Vladimir Putin. He had also demanded that Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev tender his resignation.

So the opposition leader called for a march through central Moscow instead.

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. In April, he suffered damage to one eye after an attacker doused his face with a green antiseptic liquid.

Alexey Navalny on June 9.

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