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Thousands Arrested In Russia During Massive Anti-Putin Protest

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Thousands Arrested In Russia During Massive Anti-Putin Protest

Russian police have arrested more than 4,000 people during a massive, nationwide protest against the jailing of Opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

Russians took to the streets en masse in cities over the weekend to demand authorities release the Putin-critic.

The protests first erupted in the country's far east, with videos posted on social media showing demonstrators dancing and yelling 'Putin is a thief' and 'Freedom for Russia'.

The rallies eventually spread westward until it reached Moscow, which saw a massive display of support. Around 1,000 people alone were detained in the capital on Sunday. There was even a bloke dressed as Batman who was arrested.

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In an effort to stop the protests moving, authorities closed seven metro stations in the capital and pedestrians were limited in their movement in the city centre, according to Al Jazeera.

Navalny's brother and wife have been some of those arrested for taking part in the rallies, which have been condemned by the Kremlin.

Interior ministry spokeswoman Irina Volk said: "In the current circumstances, the risk of the protests'...provocations is increasing and their aim is to violate civil order.

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"In this situation, your personal safety can be under threat. We strongly recommend you to warn your underage children, other relatives and acquaintance from participating in the unauthorised events."

Navalny is in prison after returning to his homeland on January 17. He was poisoned with what some in the West have said was a military grade nerve agent that was put into his underpants by state security agents. He flew to Germany for treatment and it took him five months to recover from the poisoning.

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The Kremlin has denied this, but Navalny was still detained pending the outcome of four legal matters that he says are baseless.

The 44-year-old lawyer has accused Vladimir Putin of attempted murder, which Putin denies and has alleged that Navalny is part of a US conspiracy to discredit him and his government.

Since being taken into custody, he's shared he is in peak mental and physical health and insisted he won't be self-harming in jail.

"I am announcing that I don't plan to either hang myself on a window grill or cut my veins or throat open with a sharpened spoon," he said.

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"I use the staircase very carefully. They measure my blood pressure every day and it's like a cosmonaut's so a sudden heart attack is ruled out. I know for a fact that there are many good people outside my prison and that help will come."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, vladimir putin, Russia

Stewart Perrie
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