Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained on Tuesday for breaking a house arrest to join an ongoing protest.
Opposition leader Navalny's arrest comes hours after a court handed him suspended sentence and sent his brother to three-and-a-half years in prison on fraud and money-laundering charges.
Navalny said the verdict was an act of vengeance by President Vladimir Putin, who has been facing off strident protests at a time when the country is going through the worst economic crisis since 2009.
Navalny, who has led one of the biggest anti-government and anti-Putin protests in 15 years, said in a Twitter post: "The fact that they've detained me means just one thing, that there will be one less person for them to arrest. They can't detain all of us."
Several thousand people joined the protests earlier inside the Kremlin walls. Each of the protesters risked arrest by the country's police but chanted: "We are the power. You won't be able to arrest all of us". One hundred and seventy people were later detained, The Times reports.
The European Union was quick to condemn Putin's action saying the verdict against Navalny and his brother "appears to be politically motivated". The United States also condemned the ruling as a "disturbing development" which was meant to "further punish and deter political activism", notes Bloomberg.
"This appears to be another example of the Russian government's growing crackdown on independent voices," US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a news conference in Washington.
The 38-year-old layer was detained as he was approaching the site of the protests where a crowd of 1,500 people was chanting slogans against the government in Moscow's Manezh Square. Interfax has been cited as saying that police detained at least 100 people at around 9pm.
Russia is slipping into recession thanks to the plunging oil prices and US and European sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.