PHOTO: More than 700 people allegedly arrested in Russia for demonstrating against the war in Ukraine

Anti war protest RussiaPhoto: AP Photo / Dmitri Lovetsky
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More than 700 people have been arrested in demonstrations against the Ukraine war in more than 20 cities in Russia, according to the organization OVD-Info.

OVD-Info is an independent Russian human rights media project aimed at combating political persecution.

Around 2,000 people gathered near Pushkin Square in Moscow, while up to a thousand gathered in St. Petersburg, according to AFP correspondents in Russia.

Protesters say they are in shock over their own country’s decision to go to war against Ukraine.

“I am in shock. My relatives and loved ones live in Ukraine,” 23-year-old Anastasia Nestulja in Moscow said.

Similar sentiments were expressed in St. Petersburg.

“I have a feeling that the authorities have gone crazy,” 27-year-old Svetlana Volkova said.

A police officer detains a demonstrator with the poster reading “No war” during an action against Russia’s attack on Ukraine in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Hundreds of people gathered in the center of Moscow and St. Petersburg on Thursday, protesting against Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Many of the demonstrators were detained. Similar protests took place in other Russian cities, and activists were also arrested. Photo: AP Photo/Denis Kaminev

Warnings

Russian authorities had previously warned their citizens against participating in such demonstrations.

Authorities warned Russians that participating in unapproved protests related to the “tense foreign policy situation” could lead to prosecution.

“One should be aware of the negative legal consequences such actions will entail, in the form of criminal prosecution,” a statement from the authorities noted.

The Russian Interior Ministry, for its part, said it would take “all necessary steps to ensure public order.”

Russia has strict laws for demonstrations and protests, which often end in mass arrests. The country is cracking down hard on opposition to the authorities. Among others, opposition leader Alexei Navalny is in prison outside the Russian capital.

Background: Russian attack on Ukraine

In the middle of the night, around 4 AM Norwegian time, in an extraordinary television address, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was launching a military operation in Ukraine.

Putin announced the attack on Ukraine during an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council.

Ukraine has closed its airspace to civilian flights.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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