Russian police have arrested hundreds of people including prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny amid protests against Vladimir Putin’s election as president.
In Moscow, where a rally had been approved by the authorities, police moved in at the end to remove demonstrators.
Police said 250 were arrested in the Russian capital including at an unauthorised protest; in St Petersburg 300 were detained at another unofficial rally.
Opposition leaders said earlier 20,000 people had packed into Moscow’s Pushkin Square.
Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger who was later released, addressed the crowd before his detention.
“The swindlers in the Kremlin think that we’ll get tired of coming out onto the streets. Will we get tired, yes or no?” he asked them.
“No”, came the chorus in reply.
‘Russia without Putin’ was the demonstrators’ slogan. They argue the election was biased in his favour.
One banner implied that the only difference between Putin and Stalin was the former Soviet dictator’s moustache.