World

Kremlin critic jailed for protests

MOSCOW Hundreds of people, including top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, were arrested on Sunday as thousands of Russians defied bans to stage protests across the country against corruption.

He was handed a 15-day jail sentence yesterday for disobeying a police officer and a fine for organising the protest, which the authorities said was illegal.

Mr Navalny told reporters in the Moscow courtroom that he and his allies would not give up.

"You can't detain tens of thousands of people," he said.

"Yesterday we saw the authorities can only go so far."

Mr Navalny had called for the marches after publishing a report this month accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of controlling a property empire through a shadowy network of non-profit organisations.

Mr Medvedev's spokesman has dismissed corruption allegations against him as "propagandistic attacks".

The report has been viewed over 11 million times on YouTube,.

Sunday's march in Moscow was one of the biggest unauthorised demonstrations in recent years, with police putting the turnout at 7,000 to 8,000 people.

Police said about 500 people had been arrested in Moscow, while OVD-Info, a website that monitors the detention of activists, said at least 933 had been detained, as well as dozens in other cities.

The Interfax news agency said 130 people were arrested in Saint Petersburg, where about 4,000 people had gathered in the city centre.- WIRE SERVICES