Russian police detained at least 500 protesters Sunday, as supporters of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny started to take to the streets for a second weekend.
Defying arrests and criminal probes, the first protests took place in Siberia and Russia’s Far East, including the port city of Vladivostok.
Navalny associates called again for nationwide demonstrations ahead of his trial, to start Tuesday.
More than 250 of the arrests preceded an expected rally in Moscow, where demonstrations are usually the largest.
Moscow police announced the closure of seven metro stations and have restricted the movement of pedestrians to downtown.
Authorities have also ordered some restaurants and shops in the city center closed and above-ground transportation diverted.
Navalny was arrested immediately upon his return to Russia in mid-January, ending a nearly five-month recovery in Germany from a poisoning attack he suffered while traveling in Siberia in August.
The United States and the European Union have strongly condemned Navalny’s arrest and hundreds of arrests made last week and called for their immediate release.
Voice of America – English
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