Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny detained ahead of rally

Posted September 30, 2017

Police officers detain Russia's top opposition figure Alexei Navalny (C) after his visit the city's election commission office to submit documents to get registered as a mayoral election candidate in Moscow July 10, 2013.

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny called on his supporters to attend a rally in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod after police detained him in Moscow as he prepared to travel to the event.

Navalny is among the most popular opposition leaders in Russian Federation, known for highlighting the Kremlin's corruption with viral investigations.

"I left home to go to a station - they detained me in the entrance". He said he was held there without charges or any explanation why he had been detained.

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The press service of Moscow's interior ministry was cited by the Tass news agency as saying Navalny had been detained due to his "repeated calls to take part in unsanctioned public events". "I am sitting in a reception room and looking at a portrait of Putin", he said on Twitter.

Navalny's campaign chief, Leonid Volkov, was detained in Nizhny Novgorod ahead of the rally, saying on Twitter he would be held overnight before a court hearing Saturday.

Authorities have refused to give permission... Some 200 to 300 people turned up, an AFP photographer at the scene saw.

Russian Federation is set to hold an election in March, with President Vladimir Putin expected to seek another term.

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Many applaud Navalny - whose ally Boris Nemtsov was assassinated in 2015 - for keeping up the fight when many other dissenters have chosen to leave the country or stay quiet.

After one such assault, Navalny was left nearly blind in one eye and had to go to Spain for surgery.

After he announced his presidential bid a year ago, Navalny, a top Kremlin foe and arguably Russia's most popular opposition politician, inspired a grassroots campaign in Russian regions to support his nomination.

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