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Protesters across Russian Federation turn out in support of opposition figure Navalny

Protesters across Russian Federation turn out in support of opposition figure Navalny

After authorities refused to register his candidacy in the election, Navalny has called on supporters to boycott the vote.

The numbers who showed up at protests across Russian Federation on Sunday - some shouting "Putin is a thief" - were lower than previous demonstrations Navalny had staged, according to estimates from Reuters reporters, indicating the momentum may have shifted away from him. Rallies were held to oppose the upcoming presidential election.

Protesters gather during a rally at Pushkin square in Moscow on Sunday.

Police initially tried to talk protesters into leaving the area, even attempting to convince a group of schoolchildren that Navalny was up to no good.

Aside from Moscow and St Petersburg, sizeable gatherings were also reported on Sunday in the Far East and Siberia, including one in remote Yakutsk where the temperature reportedly was minus -45C. Other unsanctioned rallies took place in Vladivostok, Murmansk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd and elsewhere.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been arrested after he called a nationwide day of protests against the Government of President Vladimir Putin. "Come to Tverskaya. You're not coming out for me, but for yourself and your future", he wrote on Twitter moments afterward.

Navalny appeared this week at a European Court of Human Rights hearing in his case against Russian Federation over repeated incidents in which he has been detained and jailed. In Barnaul, where it was minus 24, about 100-150 people turned out for a peaceful protest, Tass quoted local police as saying. From the FBK office to the headquarters in Kemerovo.

"Be real citizens. Go out to the demo in your city".

Mr. Navalny posted on Twitter a photograph of police taking a saw to the door of his headquarters in order to interrupt a live webcast describing events around the country.

Images broadcast online by supporters of Mr Navalny showed officers arriving at the building on Sunday morning and beginning to question people, with spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh claiming they used an angle grinder to gain entry.

Critics say the case against the 41-year-old was politically motivated. In polar Murmansk, just a handful of people milled about under a giant New Year's tree while children played nearby.

Navalny himself served three jail sentences of 15 days, 25 days and 20 days for organising unauthorised protests previous year.


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