Russian Riot Police Are Stamping Out Protests Against the War in Ukraine

Thousands of people in several Russian cities have been arrested while protesting against the war in Ukraine.
Police officers detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Moscow. Photo: Alexander NEMENOV / AFP
Police officers detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Moscow. Photo: Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

Across Russia, demonstrators are protesting against their country’s invasion of Ukraine - and facing a fierce crackdown from police. Thousands of protesters have been arrested, according to Russian human-rights monitors.

According to reports, Russia has arrested at least 1,745 people across 54 cities, with over half of the arrests happening in Moscow.

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In the early hours of Thursday morning, Russian troops launched a full-scale military attack on Ukraine. Residents in Kyiv were woken to bomb sirens, resulting in thousands fleeing the capital

On Thursday evening, demonstrators gathered in Moscow’s Pushkin Square to object to Russia’s military action, but faced a heavy-handed reaction from the police, with many arrested as soon as they unfurled anti-war banners. Riot police wearing bullet-proof vests and helmets have been deployed to curb demonstrations, with police dragging protesters out of the square and into police vans. 

Protesters chanted “No to war”. Many of those holding banners or even just standing in the square were taken away by police. VICE World News reporter Alec Luhn was arrested and later released after police confirmed his press documentation.

Further protests were reported across the country. Footage from Novoya Gazeta shows hundreds gathered near Nevsky Avenue in St. Petersburg as police use megaphones to warn against protesting during coronavirus restrictions. 

A demonstrator holding a placard reading "No to war" protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg. Photo by Sergei MIKHAILICHENKO / AFP

A demonstrator holding a placard reading "No to war" protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg. Photo by Sergei MIKHAILICHENKO / AFP

Protests have also been reported in Yekaterinburg, a city in Sverdlovsk Oblast, Novosibirsk, a city in Siberia, and in the enclave of Kaliningrad.

According to OVD-info, which monitors political persecution, more than 650 people have been detained. It reports that 290 people have been detained in Moscow, 128 in St. Petersburg and 37 in Yekaterinburg as of Thursday evening.