Dozens of anti-corruption demonstrations. Alexei Navalny arrested

Demonstrations against corruption of Medvedev and Putin. A video about the premier’s construction empire, seen by 11 million people. Unauthorized demonstrations: at least 500 protesters arrested. Rallies in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Yekaterinburg, Vladivostok. 

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested yesterday while trying to reach an anti-corruption protest he had organized (see photo). Thousands of people gathered for similar demonstrations in many cities of Russia. Such demonstrations are illegal, because they held without police permission. In Moscow, the police have arrested more than 500 people.

According to the website of Navalny, rallies were scheduled in more than 99 cities, but police gave permission to only a dozen.

Navalny had called for marches after publishing a detailed report that accuses the Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev of owning a construction empire, hidden behind the screens of bogus non-profit organizations. The report, published on Youtube, has been seen by at least 11 million people. It shows that the prime minister, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, is the owner of buildings in many parts of the world, yacht, vineyards. Medvedev's spokeswoman branded the charges as "propaganda attacks"; the prime minister has kept silent.

In Moscow, the march brought together at least 7-8 thousand people shouting "Russia without Putin!". To disperse the crowd, the police used iron bars and pepper spray, arresting 500 demonstrators.

Despite the dramatic scenes in Moscow, State TV did not give any news, preferring to broadcast soap operas and documentaries on nature.

In Siberia, in Novosibirsk, there were about 2 thousand demonstrators with banners against corruption. Some exhibited images of yellow rubber ducks given that the report revealed that among his properties, Medvedev also has a special home for the geese.

About 4 thousand people gathered in the center of St. Petersburg; 1500 in Krasnoyarsk and 1500 in Omsk. In Yekaterinburg, in the Urals, one thousand gathered. In the far east of the country, Vladivostok, there were about a thousand demonstrators; at least a dozen were arrested.

Navalny, 40, a lawyer, for years a thorn in the side of Putin, said he wanted to run in the 2018 presidential elections against Vladimir Putin. In the elections for the mayor of Moscow he obtained 27% of votes. In recent years he has often been accused of fraud. Last February, he was convicted of abduction of funds over five years. His sentence was suspended, but this is likely to exclude him from the presidential race next year.