Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Arrested as Thousands Protest Putin

Police charged Alexei Navalny with failing to follow orders and violating public order

As thousands of Russians protested against corruption, opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested on his way to join a demonstration, NBC News reported.

Navalny, who police charged with failing to follow orders and violating public order, is hoping to use the demonstrations to grow his political campaign to unseat President Vladimir Putin in next year's elections.

While the Kremlin has sought to characterize the opposition as a Westernized, urban and out-of-touch elite, protests occuring in far-flung parts of Siberia — where photos suggested a turnout of hundreds — could demonstrate significant support. Monday's status as a public holiday may also boost turnout.

Navalny and over 1,000 others were arrested during a wave of rallies in March, which looked to target Putin ally and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in the country's largest demonstrations since 2012.

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