Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been detained near his home in Moscow, his wife reports.
The anti-government activist was allegedly taken away by police as he headed to a protest he’d organised in the centre of the capital.
Over 100 of his supporters were detained at the demonstration as a crowd of around a thousand began moving from Pushkin Square towards the Kremlin.
Power to Navalny’s office was allegedly cut at the same time as his detention, briefly putting a stop to a live feed of nationwide protests.
Hundreds more were reportedly arrested at similar protests around the country, including in Vladivostok.
Alexei Borisenko attended the gathering.
“I’m here because corruption in Russia is mounting. In Iceland, the prime minister gets dismissed because of being exposed in the Panama Papers, whereas our prime minister is implicated in big corruption cases and he doesn’t go anywhere. It’s a dead end for the country’s development.”
“Of course I was expecting security,” another demonstrator added. “This is a perfect model of our state: screaming Cossacks, opposition activists, something is happening and loads of police everywhere.”
Official channels labelled the Moscow protest illegal after the venue was switched at the last minute. A protest away from the city centre had been given the green light, but the 41-year-old lawyer turned activist said authorities had pressured companies into refusing to supply him and his allies with sound and video equipment. The move was, he said, designed to humiliate protesters, so he unilaterally changed the venue to Tvverskaya Street, the capital’s main avenue.
Hundreds of riot police and military conscripts were waiting and the General Prosecutor’s Office warned that any demonstration there would be illegal and police would be forced to take “all necessary measures” to prevent disorder.
Navalny accuses President Vladimir Putin’s administration of corruption and is mounting a long-shot presidential bid in next year’s election.
Current projections suggest he has little chance of unseating the president, who rides high in the popularity ratings.