'More than 1200' arrested as anti-Putin protests held across Russian Federation

Трамп выразил готовность встретиться с Путиным

Трамп выразил готовность встретиться с Путиным

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has reportedly been released from police custody.

The protests against Putin, who many feel was re-elected through an unfair election process, were called by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was himself detained at a demonstration in the capital, Moscow.

Russian authorities had earlier tried to prevent demonstrators from coming out by making arrests in several cities and raiding the offices of Navalny's organization.

In a tweet, Navalny said authorities wrote him up for organizing a rally and resisting police.

A number of Navalny's activists were also arrested across Russian Federation ahead of the protests on Friday.

Putin won re-election overwhelmingly in March, extending his grip over Russian Federation for six more years - a tenure of 24 years that would make him Moscow's longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

"Navalny appeared on Pushkinskaya (Square) and was quickly detained", Leonid Volkov, an opposition politician, said in an online broadcast.

Shortly after the protests began, Moscow police in riot gear ultimately ordered demonstrators to disperse. He was prevented from running in the election, kept off the ballot by a fraud conviction that he says is trumped up.

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Putin is due to be sworn in for his fourth term on May 7, extending an 18-year reign that his supporters say has lifted the country "from its knees" and is denounced by his opponents as a corrupt, calcifying authoritarian kleptocracy.

This time Putin will instead meet with volunteers who took part in his election campaign, the television channel said.

"We are going out on the streets of our country against the establishment of a monarchy, against corruption, against inequality, censorship and lawlessness", a post from Navalny's team on social network VKontakte announced.

Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from Moscow, said it was hard to tell exactly how many people had shown up at the protests due to different estimations from police and protesters themselves.

Protesters chanted "shame", "Putin is a thief" and "we're fed up" as they marched through Moscow, some carrying placards or Russian flags.

It's not the first time Navalny has been detained for staging an unauthorized event.

A number of pro-Putin supporters also turned up at the protest, their chants drowning out those for Navalny.

The chaotic arrests in Moscow were an echo of protests held the day before Putin's last inauguration in 2012, which ended in violent clashes with police.

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