Published: Mon, June 12, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Russian police may use force to break up illegal Moscow rally

Russian police may use force to break up illegal Moscow rally

The Russia Day protests were expected to be the largest ever permitted in Moscow by the Russian authorities, although the authorized venue is located far away from the capital's city center.

An Associated Press reporter saw about 50 protesters seized by police in the gathering at Mars Field.

Mr. Navalny's wife wrote on his Twitter account that he had been detained near the entrance of his home but that plans for the protest in central Moscow hadn't changed.

On the eve of the event, which authorities had authorised in central Moscow, Navalny announced the protest was changing location after authorities blocked his efforts set up a stage and sound equipment.

Navalny, who hopes to unseat Putin in next year's elections, has been detained at home ahead of the demonstrations, his wife said on Twitter.

A spokeswoman for Navalny said electricity has been cut off at his offices in Moscow.

Navalny called the anti-corruption protests after releasing a film alleging that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev controls a vast fortune through a network of foundations.

On his website, Navalny urged his supporters to take to the streets and oppose Putin's government.

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Navalny supporters were demonstrating across Russian Federation, with several arrested as police warned organisers against holding an unauthorised rally in Moscow. He said contractors hired to build a stage at the agreed-upon venue could not do their work after apparently coming under official pressure.

Tverskaya Street, known in Soviet times as Gorky Street, is one of Moscow's main thoroughfares.

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.

That could mean a repeat of scenes in March, when hundreds of people were detained during a peaceful rally against corruption - many of them, teenagers.

The protest 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.

The Kremlin has long sought to cast the opposition as a phenomenon of a privileged, Westernised urban elite out of touch with people in Russia's far-flung regions.

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

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