Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested on Monday, June, 12, 2017, while on his way to the main demonstration in Moscow.
One of Russian President Vladimir Putin's top critics was arrested Monday before a massive protest that drew thousands of people in Moscow.
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested on charges that could bring him 15 days in jail, police said. Navalny’s wife, Yulia, said on his Twitter feed that he was arrested outside his home about a half-hour before the demonstration was set to begin.
Officials had given the OK for the rally, but Navalny late Sunday called for the location to change to one of Moscow's main avenues. He said contractors hired to build a stage at the agreed-upon venue couldn't do their work.
Associated Press journalists witnessed at least 200 arrests in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city. AP reporters also saw at least 10 arrests in Moscow, with reports saying there were up to 100 so far in the capital.
Police said the opposition leader would be charged with failure to follow police orders and violation of public order, according to state news agency Tass.
Navalny, a former lawyer who's announced plans to challenge Putin in next year’s presidential election, has become the country’s most prominent opposition figure.
Navalny called for on his supporters to protest an end to corruption on Monday.
As police detained demonstrators, hundreds of others shouted slogans including, “Putin is a thief!” and “Shame!”
This was not the first time Navalny was arrested. In March, he was one of more than 1,000 protesters arrested for protesting against Russian Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev and his alleged ties to corruption. Navalny was sentenced to 15 days in jail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.