Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny detained

Politician accused of violating protest laws following anti-corruption demonstrations across country

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Russia's main opposition leader has been detained along with hundreds of others following anti-corruption protests in some of the country's biggest cities.

State news agency Tass confirmed that Alexei Navalny had been placed under house arrest. He faces allegations of violating laws governing demonstrations that could lead to a 30-day jail sentence.

Navalny, who plans to run in next year's presidential election, despite being ineligible after an embezzlement conviction, was to join a rally in Moscow as part of a series of protests "hoping to rattle the Kremlin", says CNN.

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Russian non-profit organisation OVD-Info told news site Fontanka.ru that more than 900 people had been detained at protests in Moscow and St Petersburg. BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford, who was also present, said riot police in the capital were picking out protesters at random.

Many of them were young people, apparently teenagers, chanting slogans such as: "Russia without [President Vladimir] Putin", and: "Down with the tsar", she said.

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Monday's protests, which were coordinated predominantly on social media and are being seen as a sign of growing discontent at Putin, coincided with a series of festivals, concerts and military enactments to mark Russia Day, a national holiday dedicated to the 1990 declaration of sovereignty and with important symbolism for nationalists.

They follow similar Navalny-led rallies in March, which drew tens of thousands of protesters and were the largest demonstrations against the Kremlin in more than five years.

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