‘More than 1,200’ arrested as anti-Putin protests held across Russia

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Rallies took place in dozens of towns and cities, but Russian authorities detained activists at the “illegal” protests.

Protests against Vladimir Putin have taken place across Russia ahead of his inauguration for a fourth presidential term, with more than 1,200 people arrested.Police removed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny from a rally in Moscow’s Pushkin Square, carrying him off by his arms and legs.Officers used batons against protesters, with many in the crowd chanting “Putin is a thief!” and “Russia will be free!”

Part of St Petersburg’s famous avenue Nevsky Prospekt was blocked off by police as a crowd of roughly 1,000 demonstrators marched through the city.

The country’s interior ministry said about half of the 1,200 arrests happened in Moscow, but monitoring group OVD-Info put the number at more than 1,600 across 20 cities.Mr Putin’s critics say he is more of a tsar than a democratic leader.

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