Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, the principal figure in a galvanised protest movement against the country’s leadership, was detained on Friday ahead of a rally. Navalny said he was detained in the lobby of his apartment building in Moscow.
Navalny said on Friday in a video message posted on his Twitter account: “I can’t come to today’s meeting because the Kremlin is really afraid of this event we’re planning. Let them be afraid, but I call on you to turn up anyway.”
According to state-run Tass news service, Police in Moscow said they arrested Navalny for repeatedly calling for unauthorized rallies in Nizhny Novgorod, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Moscow, and have since dismantled the stage set up for Navalny’s rally. But Navalny has insisted that Friday’s rally was authorised.
“This is, of course, a new level. Now they are detaining me for an attempt to take part in a sanctioned meeting,” Navalny said on Twitter.
Navalny, an anti-corruprion activist , who has challenged Russia’s long-time leader Vladimir Putin for the presidency in next year’s election, was similarly detained near his home on the way to a major rally in Moscow in June.
Officials however say Navalny is barred from running because of a fraud conviction that he’s dismissed as politically motivated.