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RFE/RL Freelance Correspondent Detained Ahead Of Navalny Rallies In Far East

Hundreds of people have been detained across Russia during anti-government protests on January 31.

Andrei Afanasyev, a freelance correspondent for RFE/RL's Russian Service, has been detained as he traveled to cover anti-government protests in Russia's Far East city of Blagoveshchensk.

The journalist was stopped by traffic police on January 31 ahead of nationwide protests against the jailing of prominent activist and Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny.

Afansyev, who was in possession of a press pass and proof that he was on assignment, was taken to a local police station.

On January 24, when an estimated 4,000 people were arrested for participating in anti-government demonstrations across the country, Afansyev was briefly detained and members of his family were subsequently questioned about his activities.

Several RFE/RL freelancers were approached by police in the lead-up to demonstrations in 142 cities planned for January 31.

On the day itself, the independent monitor OVD-Info reported that multiple journalists were detained around the country ahead of the scheduled rallies.