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Russian Police Brutalize Protesters During Anti-Kremlin March

Scores of young people were bludgeoned and arrested.

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.

A mostly young crowd converged near the Kremlin to chant “Russia without Putin” and “Putin is a thief.” Similar protests flared in several other cities.

  • Russian police officers detain a participant of an unauthorized opposition rally in Saint Petersburg on June 12, 2017. 
    OLGA MALTSEVA via Getty Images
    Russian police officers detain a participant of an unauthorized opposition rally in Saint Petersburg on June 12, 2017. 
  • Riot police officers detain a participant of an opposition rally.
    OLGA MALTSEVA via Getty Images
    Riot police officers detain a participant of an opposition rally.
  • Over 200 people were detained on June 12, 2017 by police at opposition protests called by Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, said
    STR via Getty Images
    Over 200 people were detained on June 12, 2017 by police at opposition protests called by Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, said a Russian NGO tracking arrests. 
  • Russian police officers detain a participant.
    OLGA MALTSEVA via Getty Images
    Russian police officers detain a participant.
  • Riot police detain Russian opposition figure Ilya Yashin. 
    Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters
    Riot police detain Russian opposition figure Ilya Yashin. 
  • "About 121 people were detained in Moscow up to this point. In Saint-Petersburg - 137," OVD-Info group, which operates a dete
    OLGA MALTSEVA via Getty Images
    "About 121 people were detained in Moscow up to this point. In Saint-Petersburg - 137," OVD-Info group, which operates a detention hotline, wrote on Twitter.
  • People chant slogans during an unauthorized opposition rally in Moscow.
    VASILY MAXIMOV via Getty Images
    People chant slogans during an unauthorized opposition rally in Moscow.
  • Russian police officers detain a participant. 
    OLGA MALTSEVA via Getty Images
    Russian police officers detain a participant. 
  • Russian police officers take a protester into custody. 
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Russian police officers take a protester into custody. 
  • Russian police officers detain a participant of an opposition rally in Tverskaya street in central Moscow.
    STR via Getty Images
    Russian police officers detain a participant of an opposition rally in Tverskaya street in central Moscow.
  • Russian police officers detain a participant. 
    STR via Getty Images
    Russian police officers detain a participant. 
  • Russian police officers detain a participant. 
    STR via Getty Images
    Russian police officers detain a participant. 
  • Russian police officers detain a participant. 
    STR via Getty Images
    Russian police officers detain a participant. 

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.

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