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Russian police arrested over a thousand protesters on Wednesday after supporters of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny rallied in cities nationwide.
Navalny survived a nerve agent attack last year that Russian authorities denied carrying out.
Now he's been on hunger strike over his conditions in prison for three weeks, and grown thin and weak.
His allies say he risks kidney failure or cardiac arrest.
Navalny's wife Yulia joined a rally in the capital Moscow, where demonstrators chanted her name, as well as "Freedom to Navalny!" and "Let the doctors in!".
Navalny's spokeswoman was also jailed on Wednesday, and another close ally detained.
That came the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a state-of-the-nation speech, warning Western powers not to cross Russia's "red lines" and risk provocation, without specifically mentioning Navalny.
The United States has warned Russia it will face "consequences" if he dies.
Navalny launched his hunger strike after he claimed his prison failed to properly treat him for leg and back pain.
The state prison service has said his condition is satisfactory.
Navalny's activist network has faced mounting pressure in recent weeks.
State prosecutors in Moscow last week began legal proceedings to ban his groups as extremist organisations.