Navalny 'detained' before Moscow protest

Alexey Navalny and Russia's YouTube insurgency

Russian police detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Monday as he tried to leave his home ahead of a planned anti-Kremlin protest in Moscow, his wife said, but she called for the demonstration to go ahead all the same.

Tverskaya, known in Soviet times as Gorky Street, was closed off to traffic on Monday for an extensive commemoration of the national holiday Russia Day, including people dressed in historical Russian costumes.

There have been several arrests at protests in the east of the country.

As police detained demonstrators, hundreds of others shouted slogans including "Putin is a thief" and "Shame!"

He was arrested at the entrance of his home today, his wife wrote on his Twitter account, posting a photo of him getting into a police auto.

Eleven demonstrators were arrested in Vladivostok, according to OVD-Info, a website that monitors political repressions. Authorities in Moscow, the location of what is expected to be the largest protest, authorized a venue well away from the city center. But Monday's protests could demonstrate that it has significant support throughout the vast country.

Meanwhile Navalny's YouTube channel, which had been broadcasting live to more than 50,000 people as protests across Russian Federation got underway, lost light and sound in the studio.

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Electricity in Navalny's office was switched off, his spokeswoman said in a separate Twitter message.

Mr Navalny earlier called on supporters to attend anti-corruption rallies across Russian Federation. He focuses on corruption issues and has attracted a wide following through savvy use of internet video.

Navalny argues that he was forced to call people to another unauthorised rally, claiming that no firm would supply a stage, screens or speakers for the protest he had been given permission for.

The protests in March were called to demand the resignation of Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev.

For now, polls suggest Navalny, who was jailed for 15 days for disobeying a policeman at the last protest, has scant chance of unseating Putin, who enjoys high ratings.

The demonstration is the second mass action since March 26 called by Navalny, who has announced his intention to run for president next year and has drawn a new generation to the streets through a relentless online campaign. He is recovering after an assailant threw green dye in his face in April, the latest in a series of physical attacks.

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