11 photos from one of Russia’s biggest anti-Putin protests in years

Anton Vaganov/Reuters

Russian state media downplayed Monday’s anti-government protests as small, but in reality, demonstrations that took place in more than 100 Russian cities were some of the largest in years.

The protesters gathered on Russia Day – a national holiday celebrating the adoption of the Russian Federation on June 12, 1990 – to speak out against government corruption.

They were organized by Alexei Navalny, a long-time critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and himself a presidential hopeful.

In the past, Navalny has labeled Putin “the czar of corruption,” and even accused Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of “building a corruption empire,” according to the Moscow Times. But the day did not go very well for him.

Here’s what happened.

Russian TV’s flagship evening news show, Vremya, claimed less than 2,000 people attended the protest in Moscow. But it appears there are more than that in just this picture alone.

“Russia without Putin” and “Russia will be free,” the protesters chanted.

Riot police set up a barricade of semi-trucks in downtown Moscow to block the protesters.

A group of young protesters, one of whom held a sign that read ‘Dimon (Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev) Resign!’, were blocked by riot police in Moscow.

866 protesters were arrested in Moscow, according to OVD-Info, a Russian police watchdog.

Many were hauled off like this.

Anton Vaganov/Reuters

And this.

Even minors were taken away and detained. One hundred and forty minors are currently facing prosecution in St. Petersburg, according to the St. Petersburg’s Fontanka newspaper.

A female protester is seen here getting pulled down from a lamp post in Moscow.

Russian activist and liberal politician, Ilya Yashin, is seen being detained here.

Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Alexei Navalny was arrested outside his home on Monday before the protests began. He’s seen here speaking during his court hearing on Tuesday. He was later sentenced to 30 days in jail for staging an unsanctioned rally.