April 2, 2023

More than 1,300 people have been detained across Russia as demonstrators protest President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial mobilization of reservists, an independent monitoring group said on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 protesters were detained in two of the country’s most populous cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, but the group OVD-Info said people were detained in 38 cities in total.

Russia’s anti-protest law bans unsanctioned demonstrations. The Moscow prosecutor’s office warned that involvement in one could lead to 15 years in prison, Associated Press reports.

Image: Moscow protests
Police detain a man after calling for a partial mobilization of protests in Moscow on September 21, 2022.Alexander Nemenov/AFP – Getty Images

In a statement cited by Russian news agencies, an interior ministry official said that “in some areas, there were attempts to carry out unauthorized operations, but with a very small number of participants.”

Video of protest outside St Petersburg church Police in helmets and tactical gear were shown attacking protesters with batons.exist Another video outside the churchthe authorities can be seen removing people from the group one by one.

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In Moscow, a video showed security forces pinning someone to the ground as the crowd chanted “let that person go”.

“I’m not afraid of anything,” a protester in Moscow who declined to be identified told the Associated Press“The most precious thing they can take from us is the life of our children. I will not give them my child’s life.”

Protesters took to the streets after Putin’s announcement of the mobilization, as Ukraine’s armed forces successfully fought back as the battlefield continued to suffer.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 300,000 reservists with relevant combat and service experience will be called up initially.

Brian Garrion, Maya Brown and Rania Sotierto contributed.

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