Reuters International

Law enforcement officers line up as they block opposition supporters near Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Monday rejected calls by the United States and the European Union to release opposition protesters detained during what it said were illegal demonstrations on Sunday and accused organisers of paying teenagers to attend.

Police detained hundreds of protesters across Russia on Sunday, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, after thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against corruption and demand the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, talking to reporters on a conference call, called the protests "a provocation" and said the authorities were concerned that opposition activists would try to encourage people to break the law again in future.

Peskov said that the Kremlin would however listen to what people who took part in sanctioned anti-government protests in some Russian cities had said on Sunday.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Kevin O'Flynn)

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