More than 4,600 people were arrested in cities across Russia during Sunday’s protests against Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, one of them reported, on the 11th day of the invasion.
A police spokeswoman said 1,700 people were arrested in Moscow after about 2,500 people took part in an “unauthorized protest”, while 750 were arrested at a smaller rally of about 1,500 people in Saint Petersburg, the second largest city, Russian news agencies reported.
OVD-Info, which monitors arrests at opposition protests, put the number of detainees in 65 towns and cities across Russia at 4,644 people.
She added that the police used electric shocks on the demonstrators.
It also posted photos and videos of witnesses on the Telegram messenger service showing riot police beating protesters with batons and protesters with blood streaming down their faces.
Russia’s most prominent human rights organization, Memorial, said one of its prominent activists, Oleg Orlov, was arrested in the capital’s Manzhnaya Square as he was holding a sign.
Svetlana Ganushkina, another veteran human rights activist seen as a potential Nobel Prize winner, was arrested in Moscow on the day of her 80th birthday.
City police said a police truck carrying a group of detainees to a police station overturned in a traffic accident, injuring nine, six of whom were members of the public.
In Saint Petersburg’s second largest city, large numbers of riot police patrolled outside the Gostiny Dvor, a downtown building where protesters usually gather.
These protests came after hundreds were arrested in demonstrations located in the east, such as the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and in Yekaterinburg in the Urals.
Russian police warned on Friday that all attempts to organize illegal demonstrations on Sunday would be “immediately suppressed” and that organizers and participants would face charges.
The latest arrests brought the total number of detained protesters to more than 10,000 since February 24, when President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine to carry out a “special operation”.
Despite the official suppression of the demonstrations, and the demonstrators facing prison sentences, there have been daily protests since then.
And on Friday, imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny urged his supporters to hold protests on Sunday “in all central squares in Russia and in the whole world”.
He called on the Russians to organize daily protests, saying they should not become “a nation of frightened cowards.”
On Friday, Putin signed a bill providing for up to 15 years in prison for spreading “false news” about the Russian military.
The official RIA Novosti news agency reported that police in the Kemerovo region in the Urals fined a man 60,000 rubles ($624) for calling on people to demonstrate against the “special disarmament operation in Ukraine,” saying this was the first known use of the new legislation. .