Riot policemen detain a journalist during a protest rally in St. Petersburg, on Sunday, where thousands crowded in for an unsanctioned protest against the Russian government

In a rare show of force, thousands of Russians took to the streets of Moscow and other cities in the biggest anti-government protests in years.
In Moscow, police arrested hundreds of demonstrators, including prominent Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist, Alexei Navalny, who orchestrated the uprising. On Monday, officials announced that Navalny will serve a 15-day jail term, saying that he disobeyed police.
“Under laws passed in the wake of anti-government protests in 2011, Russians must request protests be sanctioned by the government or face imprisonment and fines,” reporter Charles Maynes tells NPR from Moscow.
Maynes adds, “Police report over 600 were detained over the rallies — but human rights groups say the number is higher.”
As for the Kremlin’s reaction, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the protests were “instigated” by organizers and were carried out by misguided people.
“We cannot respect those who deliberately misled underage minors promising them some payment in return for …