Russian police detained around 200 people, including several prominent opposition figures, at a meeting of independent and opposition politicians in Moscow on Saturday, the interior ministry said.
The detentions come amid a crackdown on anti-Kremlin sentiment, following the arrest and imprisonment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny who returned to Russia in January after recovering from a nerve agent poisoning in Siberia.
The Moscow forum, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, was a gathering of municipal deputies from all over the country, Andrei Pivovarov, the event’s organiser and executive director of Open Russia, a British-based group founded by exiled former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, told radio station Echo Moskvy.
As the forum got underway, police entered the building and began detaining attendees and taking them to police vans waiting outside, video footage from TV Rain and Russian news agencies showed.
The Moscow branch of Russia’s interior ministry said around 200 people had been detained and that an investigation was underway.