Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, centre, attends a rally in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Navalny was arrested Sunday in Moscow while walking with protesters, as protests take place across the country. (AP Photo/Evgeny Feldman)
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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been freed after a brief spell in police detention in Moscow as thousands rallied against a March election expected to extend Vladimir Putin's Kremlin term.Heeding a call by Putin's bete noire, thousands braved freezing temperatures to stage rallies in dozens of cities to protest upcoming "pseudo-elections," as Navalny and his supporters refer to them.In Moscow, Navalny chanted "Swindlers and thieves" at a rally in the city center Sunday before several police officers pounced on the 41-year-old opposition politician, knocking him to the ground and dragging him on to a bus. Authorities said earlier Navalny would be charged with organizing an unpermitted protest, adding he had been taken to a police station.Authorities estimated the Moscow turnout at around 1,000 people.Ahead of the Moscow rally police broke into Navalny's headquarters using a power saw. Police also detained several members of Navalny's team.Navalny himself served three jail sentences of 15 days, 25 days and 20 days for organizing unauthorized protests last year.
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