Alexei Navalny detained at anti-Putin election protest

Russian Interior Ministry officers gather outside a building which houses the office of the Anti-corruption Foundation led by opposition leader Alexei Navalny before a rally for a boycott of a March 18 presidential election in Moscow Russia January 28

Russian police raid Navalny office ahead of planned protests

Within minutes of arriving at Pushkinskaya Square, where hundreds of protesters had gathered, Navalny was wrestled into a patrol van by police, in dramatic footage posted on Youtube.

On January 25, police issued a stern warning to anti-government protesters.

One of Putin's most vocal critics, Navalny is barred from standing in the upcoming election in March because of a previous criminal conviction - one which he has said was politically motivated.

The anticorruption crusader took to Twitter to announce that he had been detained after joining a rally of more than 1,000 people in central Moscow. Several staff members were detained, said Navalny and members of his team.

Today, a lengthy march through central Moscow took place with tens of thousands of people in attendance.

"In order to take down our broadcast, the police cut out the door to the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) office, and then began to saw the door to the studio right in the middle of broadcast", he said in a Facebook post.

"You are not rallying for me, but for yourselves and your future", he tweeted.

Around 240 people were detained across the country, according to OVD-Info, an independent group which monitors crackdowns on demonstrations.

After walking a short distance, he was surrounded by police officers wearing helmets, who grabbed him, and forced him onto the ground, before dragging him into a patrol wagon. "There is nobody to vote for", the 27-year-old said.

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Mr Navalny said he planned to attend the Moscow protest later.

Approximately 2,000 people marched through Moscow Sunday in support of Navalny, according to reporters in the city.

"These are not elections because we already know the result".

They called for Navalny to be freed after his detention earlier in the day.

According to an UNIAN correspondent in Russian Federation, rally organizers stated that they were calling on their supporters to get on the streets "for themselves, for their rights and for their future", not for Navalny.

But it's virtually the only one that can turn out street protests, not just in Moscow but in remote reaches of Russia's 11 time zones.

He says the upcoming election will be little more than a coronation of Putin who is expected to win a fourth presidential term, becoming the longest-serving Russian leader since Stalin. Navalny is also calling on Russians to boycott the election.

"I want change", Andrei Petrov, 20, told AFP in the former imperial capital.

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