Several hundred people detained in Russia after paying respects to Alexei Navalny

Supporters of Alexei Navalny risked reprisals for paying their respects to him in Russia after the news of his death, ITV News Correspondent Graham Stothard reports

Several hundred people were detained in Russia while paying tribute to opposition leader Alexei Navalny who died on Friday, according to a prominent rights group.

Police had detained 366 people across 12 Russian cities by Saturday night, according to the OVD-Info rights group that tracks political arrests and provides legal aid.

More than 200 arrests were made in St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city, the group said.

Among those detained there was Grigory Mikhnov-Voitenko, a priest of the Apostolic Orthodox Church, who was leading a service in tribute to Mr Navalny.

He was charged with organising a rally and was placed in a holding cell in a police precinct, but was later hospitalised with a stroke, OVD-Info reported.

Of those detained, 42 have been ordered to to serve between one and six days in prison, while nine others were fined, court officials said.

In Moscow, at least six people were ordered to serve 15 days in jail, according to OVD-Info.

Meanwhile, Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, published a picture of the couple on Instagram Sunday in her first social media post since her husband’s death. The caption read simply: “I love you.”

Mr Navalny's death came as a shock and a crushing blow to many Russians who looked to the jailed leader, aged just 47 when he died, as a viable alternative to President Vladimir Putin.

He remained vocal in his unrelenting criticism of the Kremlin, even after he survived a nerve agent poisoning and received multiple prison sentences.

Protestors surrounded Russian embassies across the world and called for the Kremlin to be held responsible for Mr Navalny's death, while tributes and memorials were put together across Russia.

The news came just a month before the Russian presidential elections, which are expected to give Mr Putin another six years in power.

The circumstances of Mr Navalny's death are still being investigated, and it remains unclear when Russian authorities will release his body.

His family demanded the immediate release of the body via a spokesperson on Saturday, after claiming that the opposition leader had been "murdered".

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