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Protests Swell Across Russia Calling For The Release Of Kremlin Critic Alexei Navalny

Russian authorities warned of mass arrests as demonstrators marched in open defiance of the Kremlin and called on President Vladimir Putin to free the jailed opposition leader.

Updated at 4:00 p.m. ET

Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets in protest on Saturday to demand the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, braving the threat of mass arrests in what was expected to be one of the largest demonstrations against the Kremlin in years.

From the port city of Vladivostok in the east to the capital of Moscow seven time zones away in the west, protesters swept across the country in open defiance of warnings from Russian authorities that the demonstrations have been deemed illegal.

In Moscow, protesters gathered in Pushkin Square for what appeared to be the largest of the day's protests. They were met

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