More than 200 people have been detained in Moscow after several thousand rallied outside the Kremlin to protest the conviction and jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, AFP reports citing a watchdog.
A total of 209 people were detained in central Moscow by early Friday, said the OVD-info watchdog that monitors arrests at opposition rallies.
A police spokesman declined to immediately confirm the figure.
Police said 2,500 people rallied in Moscow to protest the verdict against Russia's top opposition leader who was sentenced to five years in a penal colony on embezzlement charges. Activists said up to 10,000 turned out.
Moscow authorities said the opposition did not receive authorisation to hold the rally, with one city official quoted as saying that protesters were "deliberately" confrontational.
"The rally's organisers were thoroughly prepared for it and had lots of leaflets and stickers," said Alexei Mayorov, acting chief of the department of regional security at the mayor's office.
Around 2,000 people also held a protest in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg, according to AFP reporters.