Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to 20 days in jail on Monday for repeatedly violating Russian anti-protest laws.
Navalny has announced he will run for president next March despite a criminal conviction that bars him from participating and which he says is politically motivated.
Tens of thousands of people have joined rallies in support of Navalny this month, including last weekend in the cities of Arkhangelsk and Orenburg. Previous rallies drew similar crowds in Murmansk, Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Vladivostok and Khabarovsk.
Navalny was detained outside his Moscow home late last week on his way to an event in central Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod.
A Moscow court ruled on Monday that he had repeatedly called for mass unauthorized public demonstrations. His campaign manager Leonid Volkov was also jailed for 20 days on the same charges.
“20 days of detention,” Navalny wrote on Twitter. “Old man [Vladimir] Putin was so scared of our rallies in the regions that he decided to treat himself to a small birthday gift. It’ll be quieter this way.”
On Sunday, Navalny called on his supporters to gather in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg on Oct. 7, to coincide with the president’s birthday.