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Protests surge across Russia calling for the release of kremlin critic Alexei Navalny

The poisoning and arrest of the opposition leader set off nationwide protests, beginning in the Far East, where people braved temperatures of minus 60 degrees. Thousands gathered in central Moscow as riot officers detained scores of demonstrators.

From the port city of Vladivostok in the east to the capital of Moscow seven time zones away in the west, protesters swept across the country in open defiance of warnings from Russian authorities that the demonstrations have been deemed illegal.

In Moscow, protesters gathered in Pushkin Square for what appeared to be the largest of the day’s protests. They were met by police trucks and city buses filled with riot officers, who blared messages from a public-address system telling demonstrators not to gather closely due to the risks of the coronavirus and warning them that the protest was unlawful. In all, Navalny supporters said that protests were planned across 90 cities, including the Siberian city of Yakutsk.

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