Russian police arrest opposition leaders

MOSCOW -- Police detained protest leaders Sergei Udaltsov, Alexei Navalny and Ilya Yashin at an unsanctioned opposition event in downtown Moscow on Saturday afternoon.

Police are seen arresting Alexei Navalny (Tanjug)
Police are seen arresting Alexei Navalny (Tanjug)

The protest leaders were detained “for disrupting public order” and may face administrative charges, a police spokesman said.

The opposition held a series of unsanctioned solo pickets to support political prisoners, with people standing at a distance of 50 meters from each other from the Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters to the Investigative Committee Headquarters.

Udaltsov, the leader of the Left Front movement, was detained as he walked with supporters and journalists down Myasnitskaya Street.

On Friday, Udaltsov was charged with plotting mass disorder and could face up to 10 years behind bars if found guilty.

The charges against Udaltsov stem from grainy footage aired by the pro-Kremlin NTV channel earlier this month. NTV said the clip showed Udaltsov and fellow Left Front members Leonid Razvozzhayev and Konstantin Lebedev meeting Georgian politician Givi Targamadze to discuss how to overthrow Putin. The documentary also alleged Udaltsov had considered bringing in Chechen fighters to assist with the plot.

Udaltsov says the footage is fake and that the documentary is part of a wave of oppression against protest leaders.

Both Lebedev and Razvozzhayev are in custody awaiting trial.