Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, attends a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on March 27, 2017. (Photo by AP)
Russia has denounced as a "provocation" the recent anti-corruption protests organized by opposition leader Alexei Navalny in the country’s capital, Moscow, and several other cities.
"Essentially what we saw yesterday in several places -- probably especially in Moscow -- is a provocation and a lie," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday.
Peskov claimed that young demonstrators, who had taken to the streets a day earlier to protest against corruption and demand the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, had been "promised financial rewards in the event of their detention by law enforcement agencies" during the protests.
Riot police officers detain a protester during an anti-corruption rally in central Moscow on March 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Sunday’s demonstrations were held in more than 80 towns and cities across Russia.
Navalny called for the demonstrations after publishing a detailed report earlier this month accusing the Russian prime minister of controlling a property empire through a shadowy network of non-profit organizations.
Police detained at least 1,000 people, including Navalny, in Moscow and some 500 people in other cities across the country during the protests, which had been declared as unauthorized by Russian officials. 
Navalny, a lawyer turned critic and activist, who has announced his intention to run for president in next year's election, has been rallying supporters in major Russian cities in recent weeks.
This handout picture taken on March 26, 2017 shows police officers detaining Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny during an unauthorized anti-corruption rally in central Moscow. (Photo by AFP)
Also on Monday, a district court in Moscow sentenced the Russian opposition leader to 15 days behind bars for disobeying a police officer during the demonstrations.
The court also fined Navalny 20,000 roubles ($352.20) for his role in organizing the protests.

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