Russian police deployed forces to quell anti-war demonstrations and quickly arrested protesters who were rallying against wanted warrants for “special military operations” in Ukraine.
Police have arrested nearly 730 people, including 370 in Moscow and 150 in St Petersburg, according to OVD-Info, an independent website that tracks political arrests in Russia. Some of those arrested were minors.
In Moscow, a dense contingent of police roamed the downtown area, where a rally was scheduled to take place in the pouring rain and check the IDs of passersby. . The officers rounded up the suspected suspects and then distributed summons to the arrested men.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s First Public Mobilization Since World War Two – Needs Help its faltering Ukraine war – has also sparked a border rush and rarely criticized Kremlin officials.
Before being rounded up in St Petersburg, a small group of protesters briefly tried to march along the main Nevsky Avenue and shouted, “Putin into the trenches!”
In the city of Novosibirsk in eastern Siberia, more than 70 people were arrested after singing an innocuous Soviet-era song praising peace.
Police action follows the dispersal of protests on Wednesday when about 1,300 people were detained in Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities.