Russian activist Alexei Navalny detained as tens of thousands rally across Russia

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out across Russia Monday in a nationwide rally against corruption that will also serve as a test of opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s support in his longshot bid to unseat President Vladi­mir Putin.

Navalny was quickly detained by police Monday after he called on  his followers to gather on Moscow’s main thoroughfare, Tverskaya Street, instead of an approved protest space north of the center. 

“Alexei told me to pass on to us that the plan hasn’t changed,” Navalny’s wife, Yulya, tweeted

Earlier, Moscow’s general prosecutor had that said Navalny’s change of venue for the demonstration was illegal and police would take action. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said it was “important to avoid provocations or illegal activities.” 

Russian state television, meanwhile, ran a live broadcast of Putin handing out state awards, and periodically showed a countdown to the Kremlin leader’s annual televised “direct line” Thursday, in which ordinary citizens get to phone in their direct requests.

The protest coincided with Russia Day, the commemoration of Russian leader Boris Yeltsin’s declaration of Russian sovereignty within the former Soviet Union in 1990. A Post reporter found a few people on Tverskaya Street who complained that Navalny was trying to “ruin our holiday” but no protesters as of 2:00 p.m.

As many as 2,000 helmeted police stood guard outside Tverskaya Street, which has

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