Russian Opposition Leader Reportedly Released From Police Custody

RUSSIA: Security operatives arrest opposition leader, activists before Putin's inauguration

Among those arrested was protest organizer Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is Putin's most prominent foe.

Twenty-four hours after he was arrested, Alexei Navalny, the leader of protests against President Vladimir Putin that resulted in the arrests of more than 1,500 demonstrators across Russian Federation, says he has been released from detention.

Anti-Kremlin protesters poured into the streets of Moscow after Navalny had called for demonstrations in more than 90 towns and cities across Russian Federation against what he says is Putin's autocratic, tsar-like rule. "All in all, 122 people detained for 48 hours remain at police stations, majority were violating public order already after the unsanctioned rally, trying to blockade traffic in Moscow streets and resisting law enforcement officers", sources from the Council said.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who stood behind the protests, as well as his associate Nikolai Lyaskin were detained in Moscow. Putin's election victory extended his lock on power to 24 years - longer than any Russian leader since Joseph Stalin. Images from the Moscow protest showed pro-Kremlin Cossacks beating protesters with leather whips.

A total of over 1,200 people were taken to police stations in the Russian capital.

Independent monitoring group OVD-Info said almost 1,600 people had been detained by police in 26 cities.

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Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a close Putin ally, has called Navalny a political charlatan.

Navalny rallied support for the nationwide movement on social media, calling for activists to attend and denounce Putin's autocratic rule under the slogan "He's Not Our Tsar". Dozens of participants in the rallies have been arrested along with Navalny, with one source telling Russian pro-democracy group OVD-Info that as many as 50 arrests were made in the city of Krasnoyarsk.

He even has the power to remove ministers, such as the former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev who opposed Rosneft's resale of oil company Bashneft.Ulyukayev was arrested a year ago at Rosneft's headquarters, caught accepting a bribe that he said was a setup. Putin has dismissed Navalny, who was barred from running in the presidential election on what he said was a trumped-up pretext, as a troublemaker bent on sowing chaos on behalf of Washington. The office then warned the protesters that other venues where they were planning to march were unauthorized.

Anti-Kremlin protesters chanted "the fourth term - in prison" and "sick of you", in a reference to Putin, as a helicopter hovered overhead.

The rallies were in protest of Putin's inauguration Monday.

The rally in Moscow brought back memories of violent clashes in 2012 - also ahead of Putin's inauguration. "We don't need a csar".

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