A police monitoring organization claimed Wednesday that more than 1,300 people were detained during protests around Russia over President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of a partial mobilization of citizens to fight in Ukraine.
Following Putin’s morning speech to the nation, the monitoring organization OVD-Info recorded at least 1,332 arrests during protests in 38 countries.
The rallies in Russia were the biggest since they erupted in the wake of the announcement of Moscow’s military engagement in Ukraine in February.
At least 50 individuals were held by police in anti-riot gear on a significant retail boulevard, according to AFP journalists in the center of the Russian capital, Moscow.
Reporters from AFP watched police surround a small group of protestors in Saint Petersburg, the old imperial capital of Russia, arrest them one by one, and put them into a bus.
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Protesters chanted, “No mobilization!”
“Everybody is terrified. I want to live in peace and avoid having to use force. However, leaving now would be risky as there would be many more people, “student demonstrator Vasily Fedorov, sporting a pacifist sign on his breast, said.
“I intended to join in the demonstration when I went, but it seems that everyone has already been taken into custody. This government has brought itself down and is obliterating its young, “said Alexei, a resident who was 60 years old but wouldn’t offer his last name.
One police officer was confronted by a teenage demonstrator who said, “Why are you serving Putin, a guy who’s been in power for 20 years!
Oksana Sidorenko, a student, told AFP, “I came to express that I am against war and mobilization.”
“Why do they get to choose my future? I’m afraid about my brother, myself, and “Added her.
The 20-year-old Alina Skvortsova expressed her hope that Russians would quickly comprehend the nature of the Kremlin’s onslaught in neighboring Ukraine.
Despite their anxiety, she predicted they would enter the street as soon as they understood.
According to the Russian Interior Ministry, efforts to “organize unapproved meetings” have been put down, according to the Interfax news agency.
All the protests were halted, and those who engaged in “violations” were detained and carried away by police while an investigation and prosecution took place, it said.
Following Putin’s warning in a televised speech that Moscow will employ all military options in Ukraine, Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said on Wednesday that the country would first mobilize some 300,000 reservists.
According to airline and travel agency statistics released on Wednesday, flights out of Russia were almost completely booked this week, indicating a possible evacuation of civilians opposed to the violence.