The European Union on Saturday condemned "police brutality and mass arrests" as Russian authorities responded to protests in some 90 cities ahead of the inauguration of President Vladimir Putin for what will be his fourth presidential term.
Maxim Shevchenko, a member of the Kremlin's human rights council, called for an urgent session of the council to discuss the use of force by Cossacks against protesters in Moscow and other cities.
According to reports, Navalny was detained soon after showing up on Moscow's Pushkin Square, where young people chanted "Russia without Putin!" and "Down with the Tsar!". Putin's election victory extended his lock on power to 24 years - longer than any Russian leader since Joseph Stalin.
Tough police action: The Russian human rights portal OVD-Info said almost 1,600 people were arrested at the nationwide demonstrations on Saturday and that police also used batons against protesters. Video showed some demonstrators being detained.
Protests also took place in the Far East, Siberia and St. Petersburg, where Interfax cited the police as saying around 200 people had been detained.
Among the measures to preserve the illusion of Putin's popular support was the exclusion of Navalny himself from the election.
Putin is due to be inaugurated on Monday in a Kremlin ceremony heavy on pomp.
This time Putin will instead meet with volunteers who took part in his election campaign, the television channel said. Critics like Navalny accuse Putin of overseeing a corrupt authoritarian system and of illegally annexing Ukraine's Crimea in 2014, a move that isolated Russian Federation internationally.
Latest polls show the 65-year-old continues to enjoy an approval rating of over 80 percent, with many crediting him with having restored national pride and expanded Moscow's global clout with interventions in Syria and Ukraine. Though multiple candidates did nominally oppose Putin in the election, Navalny has said only those "who don't pose the slightest threat" to Putin were allowed to run.
Protesters chanted slogans against Putin's government as they launched paper planes - a reference to the app's logo. Hundreds of demonstrators were arrested then, with many ending up in prison after trials that dragged on for years, resulting in Russian lawmakers passing new severe penalties for anyone taking part in unauthorized protests.
In 2012, Putin's black cortège raced through the deserted streets of Moscow on the way to his third Kremlin inauguration with authorities cordoning off roads, in what many saw as a major faux pas.
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