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Alexei Navalny, Putin's Most Determined Opponent, Arrested in Russian Federation at Inauguration Protests

07 May 2018

Russian police and state security operatives have arrested more than 1600 people as a wave of protests against Vladimir Putin's inauguration marked the newly re-elected president's fourth presidential term.

Navalny, who has been jailed in the past for organising unauthorised rallies, had called for people critical of Putin's leadership to take to the streets in advance of the president's inauguration for a fourth term on Monday.

"Even if some of the demonstrations were not authorized in the location where they took place, this can not justify police brutality and mass arrests".

Footage of the detention posted online showed five policemen carting him off to a waiting van by his arms and legs.

The protests captured the duality of the political mood in Russian Federation ahead of Putin's inauguration Monday to a fourth term.

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The council said "279 of them were Muscovites and 379 - from other towns".

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a close Putin ally, branded Mr Navalny as "a political charlatan" and warned his supporters that their rallies were illegal and would not be tolerated. Pro-Putin supporters also turned up, leading to scuffles between the two groups.

Thousands took part in the rally in Moscow's Pushkinskaya Square, where some protesters were detained by police and thrown into buses as the crowd chanted anti-Putin slogans.

More than 700 of those arrests made were in Moscow.

This year Putin's minders are planning a fairly low-key inauguration ceremony that will not include a lavish Kremlin reception in an apparent effort to eschew any bad publicity, TV Rain, an independent channel, reported Friday, citing informed sources.

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Some 1,500 people gathered for the unsanctioned protest in the center of Moscow, police said in a statement.

According to OVD-info, a human rights monitor, about 1,600 people had been detained nationwide during Saturday's protests.

For many protesting today, police heavy-handedness serves as a symbol of state repression. Images from the Moscow protest showed pro-Kremlin Cossacks beating protesters with leather whips.

Ahead of the protests, supporters of Navalny were detained in six Russian cities, being held on charges of violating public assembly laws and resisting arrest.

"We've ended up in a dead end over these 18 years". "Leaders who are secure in their own legitimacy don't arrest their peaceful opponents for protesting".

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Putin has dismissed Navalny, who was barred from running in the presidential election on what he said was a trumped up pretext, as a troublemaker bent on sowing chaos on behalf of Washington. Putin has now been in power as president or prime minister for more than two decades, which some see as a unsafe monopoly.

Alexei Navalny, Putin's Most Determined Opponent, Arrested in Russian Federation at Inauguration Protests