Dozens detained at anti-war rallies in Russia » Capital News

Moscow (AFP), March 3 – Dozens of anti-war protesters were arrested in Moscow and St Petersburg on Wednesday after imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny called on Russians to protest President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Police in Putin’s hometown of Saint Petersburg violently dispersed protesters and arrested around 100 people, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

In Moscow, law enforcement closed Red Square near the Kremlin and arrested at least seven people who gathered while loudspeakers warned people not to gather.

Wednesday’s protests came hours after Navalny called for daily rallies against the military onslaught, saying Russia should not be a “nation of frightened cowards” and calling Putin a “crazy little czar”.

In Moscow, a woman in a red coat shouted “No war!” before being snatched by the police from a van, according to an AFP journalist.

“It hurts me to see what is happening and do nothing,” a man in his fifties told AFP, before being arrested with his 17-year-old son.

“I couldn’t stay home. This war must be stopped,” Anton Kislov, 21, a student in St. Petersburg, told AFP.

Independent monitoring group OVD-Info said more than 7,000 people in total in Russia had been arrested in protests against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine that began last Thursday.

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Navalny, 45, has led the biggest protests in Russia against Putin in recent years and was the target of a poisoning attack he blames on the Kremlin in 2020.

He is currently serving a prison sentence for old charges of fraud outside Moscow.