Hundreds arrested at Moscow protest over Ivan Golunov's arrest

Russian national guard servicemen detain a participant of a protest action

Russian national guard servicemen detain a participant of a protest action

OVD-Info, a group which monitors arrests of opposition figures, said: "More than 400 people had been detained at the march".

The case against the reporter, Ivan Golunov, was dramatically dropped by Russia's minister of internal affairs this week, but protesters said they wanted the police officers responsible for his arrest to be prosecuted.

Hundreds of people were detained Wednesday as they marched in the Russian capital to protest what they called police fabrications in the wake of the arrest of an investigative journalist on drug charges that later were dropped when the government admitted there was no evidence he committed a crime.

Mr Golunov was arrested last week and charged with dealing mephedrone and cocaine, accusations that many linked with his muckraking of corruption by Moscow officials.

The crude way supporters said Golunov was set up and detained triggered an unusual show of media unity and an uncharacteristically swift reversal from authorities nervous about social unrest at a time when President Vladimir Putin already faces disquiet over living standards.

Despite the journalist's release, his supporters on Wednesday chose to go ahead with the unsanctioned demonstration in Russia's capital to demand punishment for those involved in his alleged framing.

Some of the protesters wore white T-shirts saying "I am/We are Ivan Golunov", the same slogan as a front page headline carried by Russia's three leading daily newspapers on Monday. It said police had released many of them without charge later on Wednesday while drawing up charges against others.

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Those arrested during today's protest included a number of journalists from both Russian and foreign outlets as well as bystanders who did not take part in the event.

An older woman said: "Apart from what we achieved with Ivan a lot of other people are wrongly behind bars".

"We came to show the authorities that we have consolidated, that we are united", said a protester known as Vsevolod, 24.

The authorities had warned them in advance that the demonstration would be illegal and could pose a risk to public safety.

A Reuters witness saw at least three police officers bundle Navalny into a truck.

Ivan Golunov was freed on Tuesday following an unprecedented show of media and popular solidarity. "But we came here anyway".

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