Aleksey Navalny was detained shortly after arriving at an unsanctioned anti-corruption protest in downtown Moscow on Sunday. He was charged with violating a law on public gatherings and faced a fine, community service, or administrative detention.
Moscow police have officially confirmed that they detained some 500 demonstrators.
Some 8,000 people took part in the protest in Russia’s capital, law enforcement officials reported. As the rally continued, police used loudspeakers to call on the protesters to disperse.
Protesters turned up despite failing to obtain a permit from the mayor’s office to hold a rally at the site of their choosing. The authorities had suggested two alternative venues, which the organizers rejected. Moscow police said that taking part in the unsanctioned rally could pose a safety risk and advised people against it.
Similar rallies, some unsanctioned and others permitted by local authorities, were attended by thousands of people across Russia on Sunday.