Russian opposition figure detained amid protests

Thousands of anti-government activists challenging President Vladimir Putin's rule were protesting across Russian Federation on Monday, with police arresting main opposition leader Alexei Navalny outside his Moscow home before he could reach the main demonstration.

Protesters were heard chanting "Russia without Putin" and "Russia will be free", according to Reuters reporters on the ground in Moscow.

It said any attempt on Tverskaya Street will be a "direct violation" of the law.

In statements to a local radio station, Moscow's police chief Vladimir Chernikov warned that officers would detain anyone caught breaching peace with placards and slogans.

The Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed those allegations and accused Navalny of trying irresponsibly to whip up unrest. "The United States will monitor this situation, and we call on the government of Russian Federation to immediately release all peaceful protesters".

Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmish, said power at their office had been cut by authorities.

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Navalny's wife, Yulia, said on his Twitter feed that he was arrested about a half-hour before the demonstration was to begin.

Police arrested the populist leader of the movement, Alexei Navalny, outside of his home before he could go anywhere.

Opposition leader Alexei Navanly was among hundreds detained in Russia Monday, as protests raged across the country in a sea of rallies that coincided with Russia Day. During a March 2017 protest that was organized by Navalny, over 1,000 were arrested.

Others were shouting "Freedom to Navalny" after the politician himself was picked up by police on his way to the protest in the stairwell of his building.

Moscow's police earlier said that Navalny had posted calls in the Internet for moving from Sakharov Avenue, where an authorized opposition's rally is held, to Tverskaya Street to take part in an unauthorized event.

Navalny called the rally after tens of thousands turned out across Russian Federation on March 26 for an "anti-corruption" protest in the wake of his allegations that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has amassed vineyards, luxury yachts and lavish mansions worth more than $1 billion.

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The nationwide scale of the March protests and the participation of a large number of young people came as a surprise to the Kremlin, which faces an uphill task to ensure a decisive re-election for Putin in nine months' time amid a steep fall in living standards after the longest recession in two decades.

The 41-year-old Navalny's anti-corruption videos have needled the country's most powerful and drawn to the streets crowds unseen since a wave of protests against President Vladimir Putin's re-election for a third term in 2012.

"There are people walking around the streets in World War I uniforms", Mary Louise says. We saw dozens of people plucked from the crowd - many of them young - and dragged roughly towards police buses. Navalny is struggling to get his name on the ballot so he can run against the president.

State television largely ignores Navalny and rarely shows him in news reports.

In a call for people to join him on Monday, Mr Navalny wrote: "I want changes". "I want changes. I want to live in a modern democratic state and I want our taxes to be converted into roads, schools and hospitals, not into yachts, palaces and vineyards", he said.

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