Kremlin rejects US criticism of arrests of hundreds of opposition protesters

The Kremlin says Russian authorities would not pay attention to U.S. calls to release anti-government demonstrators who were detained during protests organised by opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

"We disagree when the question is put this way. This is not the sort of calls we should be listening to", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.

Over 1,000 were detained in cities around the country at Monday's protests against official corruption, with the largest rallies reported in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

On Tuesday, the powerful Investigative Committee said one protester "sprayed tear gas into the eyes of a riot police officer who was carrying out his duties during the unsanctioned rally" and would be charged. Despite Mr Trump's announced intention to improve relations when he took office, several USA senators said they'd struck a bipartisan deal to expand sanctions against Russian Federation that will be debated this week.

Thousands of Russians, many very young, chanted "Russia without Putin!" in the streets of dozens of cities during yesterday's protests.

The New York Times noted in their Monday report on the protests that "police detained the architect of the national protests, the Kremlin critic Aleksei A. Navalny, as he emerged from his apartment building to attend a rally".

Riot police in central Moscow were picking protesters out of the crowd at random, a BBC correspondent at the demonstration has said.

Navalny, who was seized outside his Moscow residence while heading to the rally in the city center, was sentenced to 30 days in jail several hours later. Tverskaya Street was full of families marking Russia Day with entertainers in historical costumes.

In a live broadcast by the Russian liberal TV channel, Dozhd ("Rain"), protesters in St Petersburg could be heard shouting "shame" as they were detained by police. Navalny was taken to court Monday evening and sentenced to 30 days in jail shortly after midnight for repeated violations of the law on public gatherings.

"The scope of the rallies was incredible, and so many people came out", Navalny told reporters shortly before he was sentenced, point to protest rallies held in towns which have not seen any public show of discontent for decades. "It's not enough they've robbed the whole country, but because of them I'll now have to miss the Depeche Mode concert in Moscow".

The action also drew thousands to the streets in cities across Russian Federation, with authorities sanctioning some gatherings and banning others. Putin is expected to seek another term in 2018, and Navalny has already announced his intentions to run.

However, Moscow Prosecutor's Office warned against holding an "unauthorized action" on Tverskaya Street, according to TASS.

The police strengthened security measures at the street, according to TASS.

Navalny rose to prominence for detailed open-source investigations of government corruption.

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