Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, the principal figure in a galvanised protest movement against the country’s leadership, was detained on Friday ahead of a rally.

Navalny said he was detained in the lobby of his apartment building in Moscow.

Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny

The rally was supposed to take place in Russia’s fifth-largest city, Nizhny Novgorod, about three hours away by high-speed train.

State media cited authorities as saying Navalny was detained for calling on supporters to attend unauthorised rallies.

But Navalny has insisted that Friday’s rally was authorised.

“This is, of course, a new level. Now they are detaining me for an attempt to take part in a sanctioned meeting,” Navalny said on Twitter.

Navalny, who has challenged Russia’s long-time leader Vladimir Putin for the presidency in next year’s election, was similarly detained near his home on the way to a major rally in Moscow in June.

He served a month in jail.

Navalny, who came in second in Moscow’s 2013 mayoral race, will likely not be allowed on the ballot for next year’s presidential election because of an embezzlement conviction that he has condemned as trumped up to stem his political ambitions.



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