Moscow : Russian police on Sunday broke into the Moscow headquarters of top opposition leader Alexei Navalny using a saw, and detained several members of his team, his aides said.

The 41-year-old opposition politician had called on Russians across the country to defy authorities and stage rallies calling for an active boycott of March 18 presidential elections despite the prospect of mass arrests.

Today, police broke into Navalny’s headquarters in the Russian capital using a saw, to interrupt a live broadcast covering a series of protests in the east of the country, reports AFP.

Police also detained several employees of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation as well as supporters in the regions, Navalny’s team said.

Earlier opposition supporters rallied in far eastern Russia and Siberia, with main protests expected to begin in Moscow and Saint Petersburg at 1100 GMT. Meanwhile, Alexei Navalny and his supporters geared up for a showdown with authorities today as Vladimir Putin’s top enemy urged nationwide rallies to protest “pseudo-elections”.

Ratcheting up tensions, Navalny urged Russians to show up at unsanctioned rallies in the centre of Moscow and Saint Petersburg with placards and leaflets, a move that will likely lead to confrontations with police.

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