Protesters across Russia turn out in support of opposition figure Navalny

Activists have staged protests in several Russian cities in support of opposition figure Alexey Navalny, denied the chance to compete in the 2018 presidential election due to a suspended sentence.

On Sunday, several hundred Navalny supporters took to the streets of cities such as Irkutsk, Kazan, Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow. They protested the decision to ban Navalny from participating in the upcoming elections due to the five-year suspended sentence he received in February 2017.

Some 1,000 people took part in the protest on Tverskaya Street in the Russian capital, according to police.

Navalny himself was detained at an unsanctioned rally in a central Moscow square for violating rules on organizing public demonstrations. He was however released on his own recognizance on Sunday evening, with no immediate administrative charges pressed.

The rallies reportedly took place in dozens of cities, with many of them having been approved by the local authorities. However, the main protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg were not agreed with the authorities. Other unsanctioned rallies took place in Vladivostok, Murmansk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd and elsewhere.

READ MORE: Navalny suffers latest election blow as Supreme Court body scraps complaint

Navalny has been calling on his supporters to boycott the presidential election, claiming that the government bars opposition candidates from running a campaign.

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