Police arrest thousands in Russia during ‘anti-war’ protests, threaten them with ‘legal ramifications’

An independent monitor stated Thursday that, police in Russia detained about 1,400 people during anti-war protests around the country after President Vladimir Putin dispatched soldiers to invade Ukraine.

According to OVD-Info, which tracks arrests at opposition protests, “more than 1,391 people have already been detained in 51 cities”.  More than 700 individuals have been held in Moscow, according to the monitor, over 340 in Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city.

Putin started an offensive on Ukraine. But several Russian activists called for people to take to the streets on social media in the early hours of Thursday.

Up to 1,000 protestors gathered in Saint Petersburg, the old imperial capital, near Pushkin Square in central Moscow.

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Protesters screamed “No to war!” around Moscow’s Pushkin Square.

“I am in shock. My relatives and loved ones live in Ukraine,” Anastasia Nestulya, 23, said in Moscow.

“What can I tell them over the phone? You hang in there?” She said many were likewise afraid to protest.

Many others in Saint Petersburg also echoed this sentiment.

Svetlana Volkova, 27, then stated, “I have a feeling the authorities have gone mad.” The majority of people, according to the Russian protestor, were unwilling to protest.

“People have been fooled by propaganda.”

After that, a young man shouted as three police officers were taking him: “Who are you fighting with? Arrest Putin.”

Strong protest regulations

Russia anti war protests

Protest regulations in Russia have likewise become stronger in recent years. Protests frequently result in huge arrests.

On Thursday, Alexei Navalny, the imprisoned opposition leader who used to organize Russia’s greatest anti-Putin marches, also stated his opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I am against this war,” Navalny was saying in a video. The independent television channel Dozhd released it.

“This war between Russia and Ukraine was unleashed to cover up the theft from Russian citizens and divert their attention from problems that exist inside the country,” the 45-year-old then said.

Russian authorities had also cautioned anti-war protesters not to rally.

The Investigative Committee, a government body that probes significant crimes, has cautioned Russians that participating in unofficial rallies due to “the tense foreign political situation” could result in legal ramifications.

“One should be aware of the negative legal consequences of these actions in the form of prosecution up to criminal liability,” the committee likewise said.

These arrests have also sparked widespread condemnation of Russia and Putin on social media, with some even calling Putin a “tyrant.”

Many people have also shown their support for the protests.

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