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Russian opposition leader jailed over unsanctioned rally

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been jailed for 20 days by a court in Moscow for calling for an unsanctioned protest.

Police detained Navalny on Friday, preventing him from travelling to a rally in a major Russian city that had received official permission.

Charges brought against the top Kremlin foe relate to an upcoming rally in St Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, which has not been sanctioned.

The Russian law on public gatherings that was hastily adopted following massive anti-government rallies in 2011-2012 carries 30 days in jail for repeated violations

After he announced his presidential bid last year, Navalny, arguably Russia's most popular opposition politician, inspired a grassroots campaign in Russian regions to support his nomination.

AP

After the court ruling, Navalny tweeted: "20 days in jail. Old man Putin got so scared of our rallies in the regions and decided to make himself a little present for himself for his birthday."

The rally in St Petersburg was scheduled for Saturday, which is also Russian leader Vladimir Putin's birthday.

Navalny's campaign called for rallies to protest at his arrest in other Russian cities on Saturday.

AP

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