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Russia: More Than 4,300 Detained Over Anti-War Protests

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During the anti-war rallies on Sunday, rights groups and Russian authorities reported, over 4,300 people were detained in major Russian cities as Russian soldiers invaded and seized Ukrainian urban areas. According to the Ria news agency, citing the interior ministry, around 1,700 citizens have been arrested in Moscow alone.

OVD-Info, an independent monitoring organization, reported that it had recorded 4,366 detentions in 53 locations, including Vladivostok and Irkutsk, according to BBC. Also, opposition rights activists in Russia shared videos of protests in other cities.

Anti-war protests in Russia

In addition to Moscow, Interior Ministry spokesperson Irina Volk said 750 people were held in St. Petersburg. As reported by TASS, the individuals detained in Moscow were among 2,500 participants in an “unauthorized rally.” Over 1,200 people participated in demonstrations across the country, and 1,061 people were arrested.

Video footage released on social media by opposition activists shows thousands of protesters shouting “No to war!” and “Shame on you!” in Moscow and St. Petersburg, RFE/RL reported.

The Russian opposition leader and Government critic Alexei Navalny, who is now in prison on fraud charges, has also called for daily protests over the invasion of Russia over Ukraine. According to BBC, rights organizations claim that a slew of new rules has made it more difficult to demonstrate in Russia in recent years.

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Moreover, the Russian interior ministry warned on Saturday that any attempt to organize an unauthorized demonstration would be put down and the organizers would be held responsible.

In a recent move, the Kremlin has cracked down on media outlets by enacting a law punishing the purposeful dissemination of “fake” or “false” news regarding the Ukraine conflict with up to 15 years in prison.
According to Amnesty International, “Russian legislation avoids explicitly using terms such as ‘permit’ or ‘ban’, but requires organizers to seek permission,” BBC reported.

Several other protests against Russia

On March 6, several protests against Russia took place across the globe, not only in its own country. One protest was allowed in Almaty, Kazakhstan. About 2,000 protesters waved Ukrainian flags and chanted anti-Putin and anti-war slogans during the demonstration. Daulet Abylkasymov, a protest organizer, told the audience that the protest is not against the Russian people but against Putin, RFE/RL reported.

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