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Moscow Police Detain Navalny Mourners

People in Moscow mourning the death of Alexei Navalny. Activatica

Police in Moscow have detained at least four people who were previously detained at memorials to the late Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the rights group OVD-Info reported Tuesday.

Hundreds were arrested across Russia for laying flowers at memorials in the days after Navalny died at a remote Arctic prison on Feb. 16. 

OVD-Info said Mikhail Gradov, Artyom Guselnikov, Sofia Strukova and libertarian Vladislav Mazur were taken into police custody in Moscow on Tuesday morning.

All four had been detained at memorials to Navalny and released with warnings on Feb. 17.

OVD-Info said Mazur was being taken to court to face trial on a misdemeanor charge of breaching public assembly laws.

The detentions come less than a week after local media reported that authorities began issuing warnings against public gatherings to mourners in other Russian cities, including St. Petersburg and Northern Russia's Arkhangelsk.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin warned Tuesday that protests by Navalny’s supporters during Russia’s presidential elections next month would have “legal and law enforcement consequences.”

The late activist’s allies accused the authorities of seeking to avoid mass crowds paying tribute to him ahead of the March 15-17 presidential election, which Vladimir Putin is certain to win.

Navalny’s allies said it is planning a public memorial later this week after investigators in the Arctic handed over his body to his mother over the weekend, more than a week after his death.

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