MOSCOW: More than 1,000 people were detained Saturday at rallies across Russia in support of prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, monitors reported, while riot police clashed with protesters in Moscow.
The OVD-Info monitoring group said 1,090 people were detained at protests in dozens of Russian cities.AFP journalists at a demonstration in the capital said police were violently dispersing demonstrators with batons while some protesters were pushing back.
The demonstrations were called by Navalny after he was detained returning to Russia from Germany where he had been recovering from being poisoned with a Soviet-designed nerve agent.
Thousands of people gathered in cities across the country including in the Far East on the Pacific coast, Siberia and the Urals, despite police threats to use violence and sub-zero temperatures.
AFP journalists saw several protesters left badly injured after clashing with police in Moscow, which saw its largest gathering of anti-government protesters in two years.
Around 10,000 people gathered in Russia’s second city Saint Petersburg to protest against Russian leader Vladimir Putin and demand Navalny’s release, an AFP reporter said.