Thousands of people detained at latest anti-war protests in Russia

More than 3,500 people were detained in about 50 cities at protests against the invasion of Ukraine

Kieran Guilbert
Sunday 06 March 2022 15:25
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Volodymyr Zelensky appears on video call to address thousands of protesters across Europe

Around 3,500 people across Russia were detained by police on Sunday at protests against Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, the country’s interior ministry has said.

About 1,700 people in Moscow were arrested and 750 in St Petersburg, the TASS news agency reported.

Protests were held in at least 49 cities including the port city of Vladivostok and the Siberian city of Irkutsk, according to the OVD-Info project - an independent Russian human rights monitoring group.

Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, demonstrations have taken place in more than 100 Russian cities and at least 10,900 people have been detained, the group said as the conflict in Ukraine entered its eleventh day.

Russia’s interior ministry warned on Saturday that any attempt to hold unauthorised protests would be prevented and the organisers held to account.

“The screws are being fully tightened - essentially we are witnessing military censorship,” Maria Kuznetsova, OVD-Info’s spokeswoman, told Reuters.

“We are seeing rather big protests today, even in Siberian cities where we only rarely saw such numbers of arrests.”

A video posted on social media showed a protester on a square in the far eastern city of Khabarovsk shouting: "No to war - how are you not ashamed" before two policemen detained him.

Police used loudspeakers to tell a small group of protesters in the city: "Respected citizens, you are taking part in an unsanctioned public event. We demand you disperse."

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny had called for protests on Sunday across Russia and the rest of the world.

About 2,000 people attended an anti-war protest in Kazakhstan’s biggest city Almaty.

Demonstrators take part in an anti-war protest in support of Ukraine in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 6 March 2022

The crowd shouted slogans such as "No to war" and "Putin is a d*ckhead", while waving Ukrainian flags.

Activists put blue and yellow balloons in the hand of a Lenin statue towering over the small square where the rally took place.

Similar protests have taken place in many major capitals in recent days, including London, Lisbon, Paris and Rome.

In Kherson, southwest Ukraine, the only regional capital to have changed hands during the invasion so far, several thousand people demonstrated at the main square on Saturday.

“Kherson is Ukraine,” they chanted, demanding that Russian forces withdraw.

Meanwhile, Moscow on Friday passed a law imposing a jail term of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally "fake" news about the military, stepping up the information war over the conflict in Ukraine.

Additional reporting by agencies

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