As many as 100,000 Russians have marched against President Vladimir Putin's return to the Kremlin for a third term, city police said.
The Moscow police department said on Tuesday that up to 18,000 people had set off on a demonstrations that was due to conclude with a mass rally against Putin's rule. Organisers put the figure at about 100,000, as protests swelled well beyond the limit of 50,000 people.
The protests come one day after Russian police raided the homes of prominent critics of Putin, who was elected to another six-year term of office in March, having served as prime minister since his first two terms of office ended in 2008.
Monday's early morning raids, carried out by police armed with assault rifles, appeared to signal a shift in tone in dealing with protests as Putin starts his new six-year term.Despite the raids, Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from Moscow, said the crowds representing the various political groups in the nation, remained united in their opposition to Vladimir Putin.
The speakers on stage urged the crowd "to carry on another summer of protests. In Occupy-style actions", as Putin has already started his third term as president of Russia, our correspondent said.