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Russia Criticized For Detaining More Than 1,500 Anticorruption Protesters

Russian police detain a protester at an unauthorized opposition rally in central Moscow on June 12.

The United States, the European Union, and human rights groups have condemned the detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters across Russia.

An estimated 1,560 supporters of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny were detained during the June 12 anticorruption demonstrations in cities and towns nationwide, including 866 detained in Moscow and 548 detained in St. Petersburg.

OVD-Info, an international nongovernmental organization that monitors police actions at protests, said most of the detainees had been released by early June 13.

Navalny himself was detained on June 12 before the unauthorized rally in the capital started, and sentenced to 30 days in jail for staging unsanctioned rallies.

The White House on June 12 called on Russia to release all of the demonstrators, saying their detention was "an affront to core democratic values."

EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini said the detention of peaceful demonstrators "threatens the fundamental freedoms of expression," while rights watchdog Amnesty International said the crackdown "demonstrates the authorities' utter contempt for fundamental human rights."

Navalny called for the nationwide rallies to protest what he alleges is a system of corruption and cronyism presided over by President Vladimir Putin.

With reporting by Current Time TV