MOSCOW (AP) -- A Moscow court has moved up the date of its verdict in a criminal case against President Vladimir Putin's top foe in an apparent bid to derail a planned protest.
Earlier this month, prosecutors asked the court to convict Alexei Navalny of defrauding a cosmetics company and to sentence him to 10 years in prison.
Navalny's supporters set up a group on Facebook to organize a protest near the Kremlin on Jan. 15, when the verdict was to be announced, with tens of thousands voicing their readiness to attend.
On Monday, the court suddenly said the verdict and sentence will now be given Tuesday.
But the rally organizers quickly reacted to the move and more than 4,000 people signed up on Facebook to rally near the Kremlin after Tuesday's verdict.