An organization that monitors political repression in Russia says it has tallied 1,750 people who were arrested in nationwide anti-corruption protests and that about 50 of them remained in custody a day later.
The OVD-Info organization told The Associated Press that it counted 866 detentions in Moscow during Monday's unsanctioned protest and 658 in St. Petersburg. Other arrests were at protests that took place in scores of cities.
Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption activist and aspiring presidential candidate who called for the protests, was sentenced early Tuesday to 30 days in jail.
Most of those arrested face so-called administrative charges that carry fines or short jail sentences. But authorities in Moscow said one detainee faced more serious charges of spraying tear gas into a security officer's eyes.
A prominent Russian opposition figure has been sentenced to 15 days in jail in connection with an unsanctioned protest demonstration in Moscow.
Ilya Yashin, a leader of the People's Freedom Party also known as Parnas, was among a reported 860 people arrested on Monday. He was sentenced Tuesday for disobeying police orders.
Yashin told the court that he was not participating in the protest, "just observing what was going on," the Interfax news agency reported.
Yashin's party has an uneasy relationship with Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption activist who called the Monday protests that also took place in St. Petersburg and scores of other cities. The Russian opposition's strength is undermined by factional disagreements.
Navalny was sentenced early Tuesday to 30 days in jail.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman is taking issue with White House criticism of the arrests of hundreds of opposition protesters.
Anti-corruption demonstrations took place Monday in scores of cities throughout Russia. More than 850 people were reported arrested in Moscow and about 500 in St. Petersburg, where the rallies were unsanctioned.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said the United States "strongly condemns the detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters" which he described as an "affront to core democratic values."
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that "We do not agree with such a statement of the question."
Peskov added: "For those who engaged in provocative actions in violation of the law, the actions of the authorities were taken in full compliance with our legislation."
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