The Latest: Russian police block off St Petersburg avenue

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MOSCOW (AP) – The Latest on anti-Putin protests in Russia (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

Police in Russia’s second-largest city have blocked off a large section of St. Petersburg’s main avenue and are arresting demonstrators taking part in a protest before President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a new term.

Video broadcast on the YouTube channel of protest organizer Alexei Navalny on Saturday showed the wide Nevsky Prospekt avenue blocked off around Gostiny Dvor, the sprawling trade complex that is one of the city’s landmarks.

A crowd estimated at more than 1,000 had earlier begun marching down Nevsky. There was no immediate tally of the number of arrests.

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3:50 p.m.

A group that monitors political repression in Russia says more than 350 people have been arrested in a day of nationwide protests against the upcoming inauguration of Vladimir Putin for a new six-year term as president.

The OVD-Info group said the largest number of arrests as of Saturday mid-afternoon was in Chelyabinsk, where 97 people were detained. It said in a protest in Yakutsk in the far northeast, 75 were detained but all have since been released.

Thousands of people crowded into Moscow’s Pushkin Square for an unauthorized demonstration and OVD-Info said more than 50 people there were arrested. Among them was protest organizer Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is Putin’s most prominent foe.

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2:55 p.m.

Russian police have detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny at a demonstration against President Vladimir Putin in central Moscow.

Thousands of demonstrators denouncing Putin’s upcoming inauguration into a fourth term gathered Saturday in the capital’s Pushkin Square.

Video showed police carrying a struggling Navalny, who is Putin’s most prominent foe, out of the square, carrying him by the legs and arms.

The unauthorized protest was part of a day of nationwide demonstrations under the slogan “He is not our czar.” Police made arrests at demonstrations in some other cities, but there was no overall figure immediately available.

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2:40 p.m.

Thousands of demonstrators crowded into one of Moscow’s main squares on Saturday as part of nationwide protests against the upcoming inauguration of President Vladimir Putin to a new term.

Police in riot gear waded into the crowd on Pushkin Square and were seen grabbing some demonstrators and leading them away, but there were no immediate moves to disperse the unauthorized gathering. A helicopter hovered overhead to monitor the crowd.

The protests Saturday under the slogan “He is not our czar” are organized by Putin’s most prominent foe, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny.

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12 p.m.

Demonstrators are holding protests throughout Russia against the upcoming inauguration of Vladimir Putin for a fourth term as Russian president.

The protests Saturday under the slogan “He is not our czar” are organized by Putin’s most prominent foe, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny.

News reports and social media postings said protests had attracted hundreds or more in at least 10 cities in the Far East and Siberia. Some arrests by police were reported, but no overall figure was available.

Larger demonstrations are expected in the afternoon in Moscow, where protesters aim to hold an unauthorized march on one of the capital’s main thoroughfares, and in St. Petersburg.

Putin will be inaugurated Monday for a six-year term.

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