People have been arrested in at least 38 Russian cities after impromptu demonstrations against the partial mobilization. About 500 people have been arrested in Saint Petersburg and Moscow each time.
In total, 1,311 people are said to have been arrested by law enforcement. Wednesday’s demonstrations are the largest since Moscow announced in late February that it was attacking neighboring Ukraine. The independent civil rights portal OVD-Info reports this on Wednesday evening.
Journalists from AFP in Moscow saw at least 50 people arrested on one of the main streets of the capital. In Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city, a bus full of detainees was taken away by police in the center of the city. The demonstrators chanted ‘no to war’ and ‘no mobilization’. According to OVD, just over 500 people were arrested in both cities.
The Russian Interior Ministry confirmed to Interfax that it had cracked down on “attempts to organize unauthorized demonstrations”. However, the government speaks of ‘small-scale protest actions’. “Everyone has been stopped and those who broke the law have been arrested and taken to police stations.”
In Russia, organizing or participating in protests carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.