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Editor breaks into Russian evening newscast with anti-war protest sign

The protester shouted ‘no war, stop the war’ behind the anchor

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 15 March 2022 08:28 GMT
Anti-war protester interrupts Russian news anchor live on air

A woman burst onto Russia’s most-watched live nightly newscast with a protest sign condemning the war in Ukraine.

In the footage, an anchor is reading the news on Monday when a woman shows up in the background holding a sign that says "NO WAR”.

"Stop the war. Don't believe propaganda. They're lying to you," the sign reads.

She chanted "stop the war, no to war" behind the newscaster.

According to Financial Times Moscow Bureau Chief Max Seddon – himself citing Russian media sources – the woman is Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Channel One. She has reportedly already been arrested and charged with "discrediting the Russian armed forces”. Channel One's legal defence foundation is planning on defending her against the charges.

She recorded a video prior to the incident in which she condemns Russian President Vladimir Putin and apologises for her previous work on Russian state TV.

In the address, she calls Russia the “aggressor" and blames Mr Putin for lying to the Russian people.

"Unfortunately, for the last few years I've been working for Channel One. I've been doing Kremlin propaganda and I'm very ashamed of it – that I let people lie from TV screens and allowed the Russian people to be zombified," she says in the video.

She expressed regret for staying silent during Russias 2014 annexation of Crimea.

"We didn't say anything in 2014 when it only just began. We didn't protest when the Kremlin poisoned Navalny. We just silently watched this inhuman regime," she says in the video. "Now the whole world has turned away from us, and ten generations of our descendants won't wash off this fratricidal war."

Ms Ovsyannikova joins more than 750 people who have been arrested across Russia for protesting the war in Ukraine over the last several days.

According to OVD-Info, an independent monitoring group which also reported on Ms Ovsyannikova's situation, police have arrested at least 756 people during demonstrations in 37 cities across the country. Approximately half of the arrests occurred in Moscow.

On 4 March, Mr Putin criminalised dissent, prohibiting independent war reporting and protests against the war with sentences of up to 15 years in prison for violators.

Since the invasion began, more than 6,000 people have been arrested for protesting the war.

Protests against the war have also broken out across Europe, with tens of thousands turning out in Berlin to condemn Mr Putin’s invasion.

Demonstrations have also occurred in London, Warsaw, and outside the Russian embassy in Washington DC.

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