Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and his allies have formally requested permission from the authorities to hold anticorruption rallies in Moscow and several other cities on June 12, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Navalny said on his website on May 29 that activists in 212 cities plan to hold demonstrations. The number of cities in which they have applied for permits was not immediately clear, RFE/RL reported.
Navalny said that rallies will be held regardless of whether permission is granted, citing what he said was the right of citizens to demonstrate on the June 12 Russia Day holiday.
In Moscow, Navalny is seeking permission for up to 15,000 people to march down Tverskaya Street, a main thoroughfare, and rally near the Kremlin.
Navalny is trying to get on the ballot for a March 2018 election in which President Vladimir Putin is widely expected to run for a fourth term.
The Kremlin foe and anticorruption crusader is seeking to build on momentum after organizing nationwide anticorruption protests on March 26 that drew unexpectedly large crowds. Police detained more than 1,000 people in Moscow alone, including Navalny, who was jailed for 15 days.
The protest plans may run up against a decree Putin signed on May 10 that restricts public gatherings in Moscow and other cities that will be hosting matches in the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup soccer tournament, including Moscow.
Critics say Putin has sought to thwart street protests, silence dissent, and consolidate power over more than 17 years in power as president or prime minister.