Mass arrests across Russian Federation as Putin foes protest inauguration

The protests against Putin, who many feel was re-elected through an unfair election process, were called by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was himself detained at a demonstration in the capital, Moscow.

Russians angered by the impending inauguration of Vladimir Putin to a new term as president protested today in scores of cities across the country and police responded by reportedly arresting more than 1,600 of them.

Anti-Kremlin protesters poured into the streets of Moscow after Navalny had called for demonstrations in more than 90 towns and cities across Russian Federation against what he says is Putin's autocratic, tsar-like rule.

In a tweet, Navalny said authorities wrote him up for organizing a rally and resisting police.

Thousands took part in the rally in Moscow's Pushkinskaya Square, where some protesters were detained by police and thrown into buses as the crowd chanted anti-Putin slogans. Putin won re-election in March.

Amnesty International named the arrests and beatings of several Russian protesters "outrageous". Video showed some demonstrators being detained.

According to monitoring group OVD-Info, over 1,600 people from 26 cities across the country had also been detained in connection to the protests.

Why are protesters taking to the streets? .

Independent monitoring group OVD-Info said almost 1,600 people had been detained by police in 26 cities.

Inspired by Donald Trump, this protester in Moscow makes his voice heard beneath a Make Russia Great Again hat.

"There is a big chunk of people who don't agree with what's happening in the country, who didn't go out to vote, and who don't consider the elections legitimate", she said.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a close Putin ally, has called Navalny a political charlatan.

This year Putin's minders are planning a fairly low-key inauguration ceremony that will not include a lavish Kremlin reception in an apparent effort to eschew any bad publicity, TV Rain, an independent channel, reported Friday, citing informed sources.

The opposition rallies came just six weeks before the World Cup kicks off in Russian Federation. Critics like Navalny accuse Putin of overseeing a corrupt authoritarian system and of annexing Ukraine's Crimea illegally in 2014, a move that isolated Russian Federation internationally.

Putin has dismissed Navalny as a troublemaker bent on sowing chaos on behalf of Washington.

In 2012, Putin's black cortège raced through the deserted streets of Moscow on the way to his third Kremlin inauguration with authorities cordoning off roads, in what many saw as a major faux pas. The office then warned the protesters that other venues where they were planning to march were unauthorized. "We don't need a csar".

  • Tracy Klein