Russian police seek forced entry to opposition leader Navalny's office

Russian police seek forced entry to opposition leader Navalny's office

Russian police seek forced entry to opposition leader Navalny's office

Russian police have raided an office of opposition leader Alexei Navalny after he called for mass protests against "thieves, bigots and perverts in power".

"It's absolutely clear that the most important thing that any person can do now is to go and protest", Navalny, 41, said on his blog ahead of Sunday's demonstration.

Russia's Central Election Commission last voted to stop Navalny from running against Putin, citing a conviction in a fraud case that many consider to be political payback.

Some demonstrators were chanting slogans such as "Boycott the election" and "Russia without (President Vladimir) Putin".

He said on Twitter "they have detained me".

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"I think that the most appropriate means is to vote for the candidate that suits you", he said.

Police said Navalny faced penalties for organising an unpermitted protest, adding he had been taken to a police station. Police had also claimed there was a bomb threat for their forced entry into Navalny's Anti-corruption Foundation's building in Moscow.

Navalny - seen as the only politician with enough stamina to take on Putin - has built a robust protest movement, tapping into the anger of a younger generation yearning for change.

Footage posted on Mr Navalny's official YouTube channel shows officers entering a studio and questioning staff.

Ms Yarmysh said she thought the raid was created to shut down the work of Mr Navalny's TV studio, which broadcasts bulletins and other videos on YouTube, but supporters of Mr Navalny have claimed that police said they were looking into reports there was a bomb in the office.

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They called for Navalny to be freed after his detention earlier in the day. "If we take to the streets, then at least we have some kind of chance".

In Moscow and the second-largest city, St. Petersburg, officials refused permission for the rallies, and a senior police commander, Alexander Gorovoi, vowed to deal "harshly" with violators of the law.

Yekaterinburg's mayor Yevgeny Roizman spoke in favor of the boycotts: "What we're being offered right now are not elections and we mustn't participate in them".

Activists have staged protests in several Russian cities in support of opposition figure Alexey Navalny, denied the chance to compete in the 2018 presidential election due to a suspended sentence.

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