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Alexei Navalny Detained on His Way to Nizhny Novgorod Rally

Alexei Navalny / Moskva News Agency

Opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been detained outside his home ahead of a rally in central Russia. 

Officials in the city of Nizhny Novgorod last week refused to authorize Navalny’s rally planned for Sept. 29, saying another event had been planned at the same location on the same day. 

Local police and prosecutors warned that “provocations” would be quashed if people chose to attend. 

In an early Friday Instagram post, Navalny shared footage of two police officers approaching him in what appears to be an underground parking lot. They then ask him to “provide an explanation.”

"Oh, how old man Putin doesn't want me to make it to the demonstration," Navalny wrote.

The Moscow branch of the Interior Ministry said in an online statement that Navalny had been detained for repeatedly calling on people to participate in illegal gatherings, a claim which Navalny denies

In a separate post on Instagram from the police station, Navalny called upon his followers to attend the rally despite his absence. "What's the difference whether I'm there or not?" he wrote. "Come to the rally in the name of principle and as a sign of protest against the stupidity and degradation that are ruling our country."

Обращение к жителям Нижнего Новгорода, где сегодня должна была пройти встреча со мной. Но её так испугались, что утром меня задержали в собственном подъезде. Друзья, извините пожалуйста, что не смогу приехать, но вы всё равно приходите. Какая разница: есть я на митинге или нет меня? Всё и так понятно. Приходите ради принципа и в знак протеста против той тупости, маразма и деградации, которые овладели нашей страной. Площадь Маркина, 18-00. Кто из Нижнего - помогите распространить пожалуйста. #нижнийновгород #Навальный2018

A post shared by Алексей Навальный (@navalny) on

An employee of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Ivan Zhdanov, and Navalny’s campaign coordinator Olga Guseva were also briefly detained on Friday, they said. Speaking with the Navalny Live YouTube channel’s morning news show, Zhdanov and Guseva said authorities had confiscated equipment including a stage installed ahead of the Nizhny Novgorod rally.

Navalny has announced he will run in presidential elections next March, despite having a previous conviction which officially bars him from participating.

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