Hundreds of supporters of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny have been detained by police so far at rallies across Russia, two days before Vladimir Putin is due to be sworn in again as president.
Rallies were due to take place in up to 90 cities and towns on May 5, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, although few have received authorization from local officials.
And reports coming in from rallies already held in Russia’s Far East and Siberia speak of hundreds of protesters being detained by police so far.
Putin is due to be sworn in for his fourth term as Russia’s president on May 7, extending an 18-year reign that his supporters say has lifted the country “from its knees” and is denounced by his opponents as a corrupt, calcifying autocracy.
Navalny, who has organized large street protests and published a series of reports alleging corruption in Russia’s ruling elite, was barred from the presidential ballot due to a conviction on financial-crimes charges he contends were fabricated.