MOSCOW (AP) — Hundreds of people were arrested Monday in protests across Russia. The demonstrators are demanding an end to corruption they say is endemic among government officials.
While there are no official figures on how many people have been detained, an Associated Press reporter counted about 500 people forced into police buses In St. Petersburg.
The demonstrators appeared to skew predominantly younger — those who were born or grew up during Vladimir Putin’s 17 years of leading Russia. Similar crowds turned out in March, rattling officials who had perceived the younger generation as largely apolitical.
“We are against the corruption that is costing the future of our young people,” said 33-year-old Maria Badyrova, one of the demonstrators who gathered on a main Moscow thoroughfare for an unsanctioned protest.
Putin is expected to seek another term as president in 2018, and opposition leader Alexei Navalny has already announced his intentions to run.
Navalny was arrested Monday afternoon outside his home in Moscow as he headed for an unsanctioned protest rally. Authorities had given permission for the rally, but Navalny late Sunday called for the location to change to one of Moscow’s main avenues.
He said interference had prevented contractors from building a stage at the agreed venue.
In a statement reported by state news agency Tass, police said Navalny would be charged with failure to follow police orders and violation of public order.