Supporters of opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny attend in rally in center of Moscow, Russia on Dec. 30, 2014.
Photo by YURI KOCHETKOV/EPA

Thousands rally in Moscow in support of embattled Putin critic

Updated

MOSCOW — Several thousand people rallied near Red Square on Tuesday to protest the conviction of the top Kremlin critic and his brother, in one of the boldest opposition demonstrations in Russia in years.

The unsanctioned protest came hours after Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner and chief foe of President Vladimir Putin, was found guilty of fraud and given a suspended sentence of three and a half years. His brother was sent to prison.

The convictions are widely seen as a political vendetta for Navalny’s role as a leading opposition figure. Navalny, who has been under house arrest since February, broke its terms to attend the rally and was rounded up by police as he approached the site of the protest. Navalny later tweeted that police drove him home and blocked him from leaving his apartment.

The protesters, who gathered on the square, chanted: “We are the power!” and “You won’t be able to jail us all!” Some shouted slogans of support for Ukraine, which saw its Crimean Peninsula annexed by Russia in March and has faced a pro-Russia insurgency in the east.

Read the full story at NBCNews.com.

Russia and Vladimir Putin

Thousands rally in Moscow in support of embattled Putin critic

Updated