March 27 2017 - 13:03

Opposition Leader Navalny Jailed After Anti-Corruption Protests Grip Russia

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny appears in court in Moscow, March 27, 2017.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny appears in court in Moscow, March 27, 2017.

Denis Tyrin / AP

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been jailed for 15 days after organizing a wave of anti-corruption protests across Russia. 

Navalny was jailed after being found guilty of disobeying police orders during a demonstration in Moscow on Sunday. 

He was also fined 20,000 rubles ($352) by the capital's Tverskoy Court on Monday afternoon on charges of holding an unsanctioned public meeting.

"Hello everyone from Tverskoy Court," Navalny wrote on Twitter during the proceedings. "There will come a time when we have them on trial (but we will try them honestly)."

Navalny appeared in court after spending the night in police custody.

Journalists waiting for the politician to arrive complained that they had been blocked from entering the court house by the Russian authorities. 

The politician was arrested at an anti-corruption demonstration in the Russian capital on Sunday afternoon. More than 8,000 people attended the rally in the center of the capital despite being refused a protest permit by local authorities. Navalny told the court that the protests had been "absolutely legal," and that the government had refused to answer allegations of mass corruption. 

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The Moscow rally was just one in a wave of protests co-ordinated by Navalny, who called for Russians to take to the streets amid accusations that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had control of a multi-billion dollar corruption scheme.

More than 80 separate protests were held across the country, making the demonstrations the biggest to take place in Russia for more than five years. 

Approximately 1,400 people were detained overall, including a number of Russian and international journalists, Russian human rights group OVD-Info reported. 

Navalny also called on Medvedev to appear as a witness in the case in order to explain "why so many people came out yesterday to protest."

The court refused his request.

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