According to OVD-Info, an organization specialized in counting arrests, there were demonstrations in at least 38 cities across the country. These are the largest protests in Russia since those that followed the announcement of the Russian offensive in Ukraine at the end of February.
At least 1,026 people were arrested this September 21 throughout Russia in demonstrations against the partial mobilization for the offensive in Ukraine announced hours earlier by President Vladimir Putin, an NGO said.
AFP journalists in Moscow and Saint Petersburg witnessed several arrests in the center of those cities on Wednesday night.
“Not to the war!” and “No to the mobilization!”
“Everyone is afraid. I am for peace and I don’t want to have to shoot. But it is very dangerous to go out now, otherwise there would have been a lot more people,” said St. Petersburg protester Vasily Fedorov, a student carrying a peace emblem on the chest.
Alexei Zavarki, 60, lamented the police response to the rallies. “I came to participate, but it seems that they have already taken everyone away,” he said. “I don’t know where we are going, this regime has signed its death sentence, it has destroyed the youth,” he assured.
In an address to the nation on Wednesday, Putin decreed a partial mobilization of Russian reservists for the offensive in Ukraine and said he was ready to use “all means” in his arsenal against the West.
jov (afp, euronews)