Vladimir Putin critic reportedly detained before Moscow protest

Putin critic Nalvalny takes message to YouTube

Supporters of Navalny are set to mark the patriotic Russia Day holiday on Monday with more than 200 rallies across Russia. "He asked me to tell you that the plans (for the protest) are unchanged". There was no immediate police comment on his detention.

Tverskaya Street, known in Soviet times as Gorky Street, is one of Moscow's main thoroughfares.

The protest was part of a day of demonstrations throughout Russian Federation spearheaded by Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who has emerged as Russia's most prominent opposition figure and who has announced he intends to run for president next year.

An Associated Press reporter saw about 50 protesters seized by police in the gathering at Mars Field.

A rally in Novosibirsk, Russia's third-largest city that's nearly 3,000 kilometers east of the capital, brought out about 5,000 people, local organizer Sergey Boyko said on Navalny's YouTube broadcast.

Meanwhile Navalny's YouTube channel, which had been broadcasting live to more than 50,000 people as protests across Russian Federation got underway, lost light and sound in the studio.

Navalny has said he wants to contest the March presidential election, in which Putin is expected to run, though the authorities say the opposition figure is barred from running for office because of a fraud conviction he says is politically motivated.

For that reason, he said he was unilaterally switching the venue to Tverskaya Street, Moscow's main avenue near the Kremlin.

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The Moscow protest is due to run from 1100 to 1400 GMT.

Police have warned that they will take action if protesters break the law.

While Putin has yet to confirm his candidacy for the March 2018 polls, chief critic Navalny is already on a whistlestop tour of Russian Federation, opening campaign offices and trying to collect the 300,000 signatures needed to enter the race - despite doubts he'll be allowed to stand.

A legal "caution" was being readied for Navalny, it said.

For now, polls suggest Navalny has scant chance of unseating Putin, who enjoys high ratings.

But the 41-year-old lawyer turned political street campaigner hopes anger over corruption may boost his support.

"I want changes", wrote Navalny in a blog post last week. "I want changes. I want to live in a modern democratic state and I want our taxes to be converted into roads, schools and hospitals, not into yachts, palaces and vineyards", he said.

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