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Russia Has Arrested Hundreds Of People During Nationwide Protests

More than 250 people, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, have been detained across the country, according to reports.

Posted on June 12, 2017, at 9:23 a.m. ET

Thousands of people in Russia gathered in cities and towns across the country for a day of nationwide anti-corruption protests on Monday.

Митинг протеста во Владивостоке 12 июня собрал более тысячи человек.

The rallies across the country, like the ones in March earlier this year, were organized by opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Navalny has accused Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of organizing a widespread corruption scheme that involves top Russian officials and prominent businessmen.

Navalny had received permission to hold protests in Moscow's Sakharova Avenue, but on Sunday evening, he changed plans and asked people to gather at Tverskaya Street in central Moscow, near the Kremlin. Hours ahead of the rally, Navalny was detained from his apartment building.

According to the BBC, the government granted permission for demonstrations in 169 locations throughout Russia. There were plans to broadcast the events live on Navalny's YouTube channel.

The change of venue at the last minute led to some confusion, leading some people to head towards Sakharov Prospekt, where a separate group had planned protests against the government's plans to demolish Soviet-era apartment buildings.

На Сахарова сцена есть. Но откуда? Но полиция не пускает. Вроде сказали, что начнут в 14:30 Что происходит вообще?

Soon the police began arresting people at Sakharov.

⚡️ Задержание за плакаты на Сахарова. #12июня #ТребуемОтветов

Hundreds of others went to Tverskaya and started gathering near Pushinksaya Square, the place of previous protests in March.

Пересечение Тверского бульвара и Тверской улицы

People were singing national anthem and just standing there.

«Вокруг Макдональдса собралось примерно 500-600 человек. Люди скандируют «Кря-Кря!», — передает корреспондент РБК:

Then the police came in, and started detaining protesters.

As many as 120 people have been arrested in the capital already.

Полиция уже избивает дубинками людей. Всех, без разбору.

The police even arrested a giant rubber duck — opposition protesters have been using images of ducks as a reference to an old video made by Navalny, in which he used a drone to show that Medvedev's home included a separate house in the middle of a lake, specifically for ducks.

В Петербурге задержали уточку

Protesters were also being arrested in St. Petersburg.

Anton Vaganov / Reuters

Russian NGO OVDInfo said as many as 137 people had been arrested in St. Petersburg.

Several teenage girls arrested in Petersburg just in the last few minutes

Anton Vaganov / Reuters

In Moscow, not far from the square in Tverskaya, where security forces were arresting protesters by the dozens, there were scenes like this ... to celebrate Russia Day, a national holiday to commemorate the 1990 declaration of sovereignty.

Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

Pretend Soviet police are pretend-arresting criminals while real police are really arresting protesters a block dow…

The crackdown on Monday is the first major one since March, when protests organized by Navalny saw more than 50,000 people come to the streets across the country.

Russia holds its next presidential election next March, in which President Vladimir Putin is expected to run for a new six-year term. Navalny has announced his intention to run as a candidate in the election, even though his conviction in an embezzlement case — which he says is Kremlin's attempt to sabotage him — will likely bar him from running.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.