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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)

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


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. 

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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