Russia Government Calls Demonstrations condemns ‘Provocation’

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Police officer detains a protester in downtown Moscow, Russia, Sunday, March 26, 2017. Thousands of people crowded into Moscow's Pushkin Square on Sunday for an unsanctioned protest against the Russian government, the biggest gathering in a wave of nationwide protests that were the most extensive show of defiance in years. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

The Kremlin has responded to mass protests on Sunday by accusing the opposition of encouraging lawbreaking and provoking violence.

The government said some young people were paid to attend according a presidential spokesman.

But defiant opposition leader Alexei Navalny, one of hundreds of people held, was fined the minimum 20,000 roubles ($350) and was not detained when he appeared in court on Monday.

He repeated accusations of corruption against Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The allegations were the main reason behind Sunday’s protests, which drew thousands of demonstrators nationwide, including in Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, Tomsk and several other cities, as well as Moscow. At least 500 protesters were detained.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Essentially what we saw yesterday in several places – probably especially in Moscow – is a provocation and a lie.” in the first of comments by the presidency since the protest held.

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