June 13 (UPI) -- A Moscow court has sentenced Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to 30 days in detention for illegally staging a rally.
The sentence came late Monday, after Navalny urged anti-government and anti-corruption protests across the country on Russia Day, a national holiday on Monday. Moscow police said about 5,000 people participated in the Moscow demonstration. DVD-Info, a politically-oriented Russian independent website, identified 866 people detained by Moscow police at 42 police stations.
The unauthorized protest in Moscow interrupted a history-themed parade. After riot police announced the demonstration was illegal, they began dragging dissidents to waiting buses. Protesters, mostly young people, were taken into custody as others chanted "Putin, thief" and "Russia will be free," the BBC reported Tuesday.
Protests and arrests also occurred in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, Kazan and other cities. The nationwide protests – 169 licenses to demonstrate, with limitations, were approved – were the largest in Russia since 2012.
Navalny, who intends to run for the Russian presidency in 2018, wrote in a call to action for Russia Day, "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 did not attend the rally, but was detained and later arrested at his home on Monday. He confirmed the sentence on his Twitter account, writing that his incarceration will force him to miss a Moscow concert in July by British band Depeche Mode.