Riot police descended on thousands of anti-Kremlin protests across Russia on Monday, kicking, shoving and beating demonstrators.
The marches coincided with Russia Day, the country’s primary national celebration. While hundreds of thousands of Russians came out to celebrate, photos show many, many others gathered in protest.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who organized the protests, was detained in the entryway of his Moscow apartment building just before leaving for the march, his wife announced. She urged protesters to still show up.
Navalny had been mounting a presidential bid in order to challenge current President Vladimir Putin. It’s viewed as more of a symbolic move than anything else, since Putin enjoys such high domestic popularity.
A Russian court later sentenced Navalny to 30 days in prison.
Many young women were also targeted:
In videos posted to Twitter, authorities appeared to show protesters no mercy.
TASS, the country’s state television network, didn’t bother covering the protests. The Kremlin-backed RT did.
The last anti-Kremlin protests of this scale, in 2012, resulted in more than 1,000 arrests, Reuters reported.