Police have detained more than 2,000 people across Russia, including the wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, after protesters defied bitter cold and gathered in cities across Russia to demand the opposition figure’s release.

Mr Navalny had called on his supporters to protest after he was arrested last weekend as he returned to Moscow for the first time since being poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent in August. He had been treated in Germany.

In central Moscow, police detained at least 100 people before the protest had even begun, bundling them into nearby vans.

Yulia Navalnaya, Mr Navalny’s wife, was arrested at the Moscow protest according to a post she wrote on her Instagram account from inside a police van.

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At least 40,000 people joined a protest in central Moscow according to a Reuters estimate, while rallies also took place in dozens of other cities and towns.

remanded in custody for 30 days earlier this week for alleged parole violations

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