Some shouted "Russia will be free," "No to war," "Russia without Putin," "We won't forgive" and "Putin is a murderer."

Inside the Borisovskoye cemetery, the Kremlin critic's body was presented in a flower-laden, open casket during funeral proceedings.

Navalny's mother, Lyudmila, and father Anatoly sat by their son's coffin as musicians played.

His wife Yulia and two children, who are living outside Russia, did not attend.

It was a small ceremony, but one flanked by a heavy police presence.

Queues of people had been prevented from entering to say goodbye.

They surrounded the church and clapped during the service.

"To tell the truth, it is very pleasant for me to be here in the company of like-minded people. Here, I don't know, (there are) more than 10,000 people and nobody is scared, everyone knows what they want. And we came just to honor the memory of the person who was not scared of anything. By the way, I massively admire Yulia Navalnaya - I don't know whether it is right to talk about it but she is a strong person."

Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's fiercest critic inside Russia, died aged 47 in an Arctic penal colony on February 16.

His allies have accused Putin of having him murdered, and say the Russian leader could not tolerate the thought of Navalny being freed in a potential prisoner swap.

They have not published proof to back up that accusation, but have promised to do so.

The Kremlin has denied any state involvement in his death.

Authorities outlawed Navalny's movement as extremist and cast his supporters as U.S.-backed troublemakers out to foment revolution.

His funeral comes two weeks before a presidential election when Putin is expected to easily win another six-year term.

More than a quarter of a million people watched the events on Navalny's YouTube channel, which is blocked inside Russia.