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Russian opposition leader Navalny was detained as thousands held anti-corruption rallies

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Thousands of protesters, including Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, were detained during anti-corruption rallies held across the country on Monday. 

Navalny was detained outside his home in Moscow while heading to a rally in the city center. He's now facing a 30-day jail sentence for repeatedly violating the law on public gatherings. 


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Police detain a protester during anti corruption rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. The protest gatherings in cities from Far East Pacific ports to St. Petersburg were spearheaded by Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who has become the Kremlin's most visible opponent. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
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Police stand guard during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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Police detain a protester during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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Police detain a protester during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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People attend a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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Police detain protesters during anti corruption rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Riot police in St. Petersburg have begun detaining demonstrators in an unsanctioned opposition rally in the center of the city. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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Police detain protesters during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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Police detain a protester during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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A young protestor holds up a pro Alexei Navalny note during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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Police watch the scene during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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A man is led away after being detained during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny walks before hearing in a court in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, June 12, 2017. Navalny was arrested earlier this morning at his house when he was going to a protest spearheaded by him. (AP Photo/ Pavel Golovkin)
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Police detain a protester during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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Police detain a protester during anti corruption rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Riot police in St. Petersburg have begun detaining demonstrators in an unsanctioned opposition rally in the center of the city. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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A young demonstrator is apprehended by riot police during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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The Tverskaya street is blocked by trucks placed by authorities in Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for the planned protest to be moved at the last minute, to Tverskaya street, one of Moscow's main thoroughfares, prompting a massive police presence in the area. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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Russian Interior Ministry buses and cars are parked along the Tverskaya street in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for the planned protest to be moved at the last minute, to Tverskaya street, one of Moscow's main thoroughfares, prompting a massive police presence in the area. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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Russian police officers talk as they stand behind barricades in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for the planned protest to be moved at the last minute, to Tverskaya street, one of Moscow's main thoroughfares, prompting a massive police presence in the area.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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Russian Interior Ministry special force (OMON) officers talk near their cars in Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for the protest to be moved to Tverskaya street, one of Moscow's main thoroughfares, prompting a massive police presence. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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A protestor is pulled down from a lamp post during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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A young demonstrator is apprehended by riot police during a demonstration in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, center, stands in front of his wife Yulia as he talks before hearing in a court in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, June 12, 2017. Navalny was arrested earlier this morning at his house when he was going to a protest spearheaded by him. (AP Photo/ Pavel Golovkin)
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An actor, who takes part in the Day of Russia festivities, walks past a police line in Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for a last-minute location change for a Moscow demonstration that could provoke confrontations with police. (AP Photo/Denis Tyrin)
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The Tverskaya street is blocked by trucks placed by authorities in downtown Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, aiming to repeat the nationwide protests that rattled the Kremlin three months ago, has called for the protest to be moved to Tverskaya street, one of Moscow's main thoroughfares, prompting a massive police presence. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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People gather for an anti corruption rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. The protest gatherings in cities from Far East Pacific ports to St. Petersburg were spearheaded by Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who has become the Kremlin's most visible opponent. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny walks before hearing in a court in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, June 12, 2017. Navalny was arrested earlier this morning at his house when he was going to a protest spearheaded by him. (AP Photo/ Pavel Golovkin)

The protest in Moscow was just one of more than 100 rallies across the country in which many denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The protests coincided with the national holiday, Russia Day. 

More than 800 people were arrested in Moscow and in St. Petersburg, some 500 people were forced into police buses at an unsanctioned rally. 

“The scope of the rallies was amazing, and so many people came out,” Navalny, who has already announced plans to run against Putin in 2018, told reporters before being sentenced. 


Navalny had called for the anti-corruption demonstrations and said they would go on whether the government allowed them or not.

Although authorities allowed many of the unsanctioned rallies to go on, some of the arrests were violent with police hitting people with batons and dragging them along the street. 

White House press secretary Sean Spicer responded to the news saying the U.S. “strongly condemns the detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters."


Spicer called for the Russian government to release all of the peaceful protesters detained during the rallies. 

In March, a similar set of protests were held in almost 100 cities across Russia. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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