Russia arrests about 2,500 in Ukraine protests

About 2,500 people were arrested on Sunday during protests against Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, Russian police said, 11 days after the attack began.

A police spokeswoman said 1,700 people were detained in Moscow after about 2,500 people took part in an “unsanctioned protest”, while 750 people were detained at a smaller gathering of about 1,500 people in St. Petersburg’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg’s second-largest city reported. Russian news agencies.

OVD-Info, which follows the arrests in opposition protests, estimates the number of detainees in 49 cities across Russia at 2,575 people.

It said police had used electric shocks on protesters.

It also posted photos and videos of witnesses on Telegram’s courier service showing riot police beating protestors with batons and protesters with blood running down their faces.

Memorial, Russia’s most prominent human rights group, said one of its leading activists, Oleg Orlov, was detained in the capital’s Manezhnaya Square while holding a placard during the protests.

Svetlana Gannushkina, another veteran rights advocate who has been tipped off as a potential Nobel laureate, was detained in Moscow on the day of her 80th birthday.

A police van carrying a group of detainees to a police station overturned in a road accident, in which nine, six of whom were members of the public, were injured, city police said.

In St Petersburg’s second-largest city, large numbers of riot police patrolled outside Gostiny Dvor, a building in the city center where protesters usually gather.

These protests came after hundreds were detained in demonstrations further east, such as in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and in Yekaterinburg in the Urals.

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Russian police had warned on Friday that any attempts to hold illegal demonstrations on Sunday would be “immediately suppressed” and that organizers and participants would be charged.

The latest detentions brought the total number of protesters to more than 10,000 since Feb. 24, when President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine to conduct a “special operation”.

Despite the official crackdown on demonstrations and protesters who face jail time, protests have been taking place daily since then.

On Friday, imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny urged his supporters to hold protests on Sunday “in all central squares of Russia and around the world”.

He has called on the Russians to protest daily and says they should not become a “nation of scared cowards”.

Putin signed a law on Friday introducing prison terms of up to 15 years for publishing “fake news” about the Russian military.

Police in the Kemerovo region of the Urals have fined a man 60,000 rubles ($624) for calling on people to demonstrate against the “special operation to demilitarize Ukraine,” state news agency RIA Novosti reported, saying that this was the first known use of the new legislation. †

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