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More than 200 arrested in Navalny demonstrations in Russia

More than 200 arrested in Navalny demonstrations in Russia
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Police in Russia arrested more than 200 people in cities across the country on Wednesday as protests erupted over the continued detention and treatment of Alexei Navalny, a top opposition figure.

OVD-Info, a group tracking the arrests, reported that 231 people had been arrested in 44 cities as of late Wednesday morning U.S. eastern time.

Two Navalny associates were among those arrested. They were accused of organizing the unauthorized demonstrations.

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Navalny's personal spokeswoman and a top ally were detained earlier Wednesday, before the protests began, while the number of others arrested was expected to rise.

Reuters reported that protesters in the city of Vladisvostok carried signs reading: "Freedom for political prisoners" and "No war, repressions and torture!"

The largest crowds were reportedly expected in Moscow and St. Petersburg, according to The Associated Press.

Navalny has remained in Russian custody since returning to the country earlier this year from Germany, where he was flown for emergency treatment after being poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. Navalny and numerous foreign governments, including the U.S., have accused Moscow of involvement.

He remains behind bars for a probation violation resulting from the flight to Germany. The probation stems from a corruption and embezzlement conviction that European human rights experts contend was baseless and politically motivated. Navalny has also been on a hunger strike for weeks over complaints that he is not being allowed to see a prison doctor for treatment for herniated discs.