Police officers detain people during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, January 31.
Russian police detained more than 4,000 protesters Sunday, as supporters of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny took to the streets for a second weekend to demand his release, according to OVD-Info, a monitoring organization.
Navalny associates called again for nationwide demonstrations ahead of his trial, to start Tuesday (Feb. 2).
Defying arrests and criminal probes, the first protests took place in Siberia and Russia’s Far East, including the port city of Vladivostok.
In Novosibirsk in eastern Siberia thousands of protesters marched chanting “Putin, thief!” in an apparent reference to a Black Sea estate thought to have been built for the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
More than 250 of the arrests preceded rallies in the capital Moscow and the country’s second major city, Saint Petersburg.
Moscow police announced the closure of seven metro stations and have restricted the movement of pedestrians to downtown.
Authorities have also ordered some restaurants and shops in the city center closed and above-ground transportation diverted.
Navalny was arrested immediately upon his return to Russia in mid-January, after a nearly five-month recovery in Germany from a poisoning attack he suffered while traveling in Siberia in August.