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Russian police force way into opposition leader Navalny's office, opposition TV says
29 January 2018, 02:40 | Bernice Figueroa
GETTYKira Yarmysh said she thought the raid was designed to shut down the work of a TV studio inside
Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) said Sunday that the arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny revealed yet again that Vladimir Putin is "afraid of his own people".
"They have detained me", he wrote on Twitter.
Days before the police warning, a Moscow district court ruled on January 22 that the foundation Navalny and his allies have used to rent premises and pay salaries at campaign headquarters should be shut down.
A key Russian opposition leader has been detained as thousands march across Russia in support of a boycott against the upcoming presidential election.
Several thousand turned up for the rally in Moscow where authorities dramatically beefed up security, dispatching police vans and passenger buses to the city centre. "We've already endured this for 18 years", reported the Guardian.
"I'm not scared to protest", added the former culture ministry worker.
Mr Navalny, who has been blocked from running in Russia's March 18 presidential election, called for nationwide protests on Sunday.
"I don't see a future".
"To be honest, I don't support especially Navalny", Pavel Tikhonov, a 29-year-old who works for an worldwide company, tells NPR's Kim. "I try to change our life - our life in Russian Federation, I mean". "We are exhausted of living in this quagmire".
According to Navalny's regional manager in Ural, Siberia and Far Eastern regions, Oleg Snov, police came to the office in Barnaul city with a search warrant, seizing 86 leaflets along with some office equipment, but the rally went through as planned.
Earlier Navalny said police forced their way into his Moscow office hours before the protests were due to take place. - AFP yearning for change.
While on his way to the protest on Moscow's Pushkin Square, Navalny was wrestled to the ground and dragged into a police vehicle, a videoposted on his Twitter page showed. In most cities, permission to stage rallies was received, Navalny said.
"Your life is at stake", he told supporters in a video address.
"Sooner or later they will cut your door too".
It was unclear where Navalny was, but a group of police officers was stationed near his home.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned unsanctioned rallies would lead to "certain consequences" - a thinly-veiled promise of punishment.
Officials rejected Mr Navalny's candidacy because of a February 2017 criminal conviction for embezzlement, which itself has been criticised by independent legal experts and foreign judges as politically motivated.
Navalny has accused the rest of the field of presidential hopefuls of playing into Putin's hands and aiding what he says is a Kremlin bid to portray the vote as a legitimate, competitive contest.
The Kremlin's biggest headache is the possibility of a low turnout which will harm Putin's hopes for a strong new mandate, analysts say. Vladimir Putin is expected to win the election with a vast majority.
Presidential elections are set to be held in Russian Federation in March this year.
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