Thousands of protesters arrested in Russia

More than 4,600 people demonstrating without authorization against the military intervention in Ukraine were arrested on Sunday in some sixty cities in Russia, said the NGO OVD-Info, which specializes in monitoring demonstrations.

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On images, we can see the police using force to control protesters.

At least 4,640 people were arrested on Sunday in 65 cities, bringing to more than 13,000 the number of demonstrators arrested since the start of the Russian military operation on February 24, according to OVD-Info.

Despite intimidation from the authorities and the threat of heavy prison sentences, protest actions, albeit limited, have taken place daily for 11 days in different cities of the country.

Imprisoned opponent Alexei Navalny, who is against intervention in Ukraine, this week called on Russians to meet every day in their city’s main square to demand peace in Ukraine.

Some 1,700 people were arrested in Moscow alone on Sunday, police said. According to OVD-Info, one of the leaders of the NGO Memorial, Oleg Orlov, and the renowned activist Svetlana Gannouchkina are among them.

Several activists and NGOs published videos on social networks on Sunday showing brutal arrests, with truncheons.

The first arrests took place, time difference obliges, in the Far East and in Siberia. More than 200 people were arrested in particular in the large cities of Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg, still according to OVD-Info.

To deter any criticism, the Russian authorities on Friday adopted a new law punishing “false information” about the activities of the Russian army in Ukraine. According to this text, the penalties incurred range from fines to 15 years in prison.

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Russian and foreign media announced in the wake of suspending their activities in Russia.

Those demonstrating against the Russian military presence in Ukraine also routinely face fines, under a new article in the administrative code that prohibits public actions “discrediting the armed forces”.

According to the Ria Novosti news agency, a resident of Siberia was the first victim of this new law: he was fined 60,000 rubles (nearly $700) for having called for demonstrations against the intervention in Ukraine.

In recent years, dozens of demonstrators have also been sentenced to severe prison terms for “violence against the police”, a reason considered to be invented from scratch by many NGOs.

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