Supporters of the recently arrested anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny have staged unsanctioned protests in the eastern part of Russia. More rallies are expected in Moscow and other cities.

Around 250 people have rallied at a central square in Khabarovsk, according to the mayor’s office. The protesters demand that Navalny be released.

Police used loudspeakers to ask the crowd to leave, as the protest was not authorized by local officials. When the protesters refused to do so, the officers started detaining people and dragging them to police trucks.

Clashes with police also occurred in Vladivostok, where officers dispersed the crowd.

In Yakutsk, police and protesters faced off in a snowy mist in the freezing cold.

Overall, 48 people were detained, including 13 in Khabarovsk, according to the website of NGO OVD-Info.

More unauthorized protests are expected on Saturday in the European part of Russia, including Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Navalny was arrested earlier this month, pending trial for violating probation terms that date back to a 2014 fraud conviction. He returned to Russia on January 17 after spending months recuperating in Germany. Navalny was airlifted to Berlin after suddenly feeling ill aboard a plane while traveling between campaign events.

German officials said the opposition figure was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. Navalny accused the Russian secret services of trying to assassinate him. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the incident.

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