1,700 Arrested as Russian Protesters in 58 Cities Decry Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

February 25, 2022Ethan E. Rocke
Russian Protesters

Police officers detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Moscow Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine Thursday, killing dozens and triggering warnings from Western leaders of unprecedented sanctions. Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images.

Thousands of Russian protesters took to the streets in cities all over Russia Thursday, Feb. 24, to stage anti-war demonstrations and decry President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

OVD-Info, a protest-monitoring group focused on protecting civil liberties, reported that police cracked down and arrested more than 1,700 people in at least 58 cities for defying the Russian prohibition against spontaneous mass demonstrations to display protest signs and chant slogans such as “No to war!”  

In an expansive crackdown on activists, rights groups, and opposition figures, Russia declared OVD-Info a “foreign agent” in September 2021 after the group played a major role in documenting anti-Kremlin demonstrations. 

Photos and videos on Twitter show protesters in the streets of Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city. Riot police officers rounded up at least 327 people there, according to The New York Times. Video footage from the scene appears to show police hitting people and pushing protesters to the ground.

The New York Times reported that many people demonstrated in other Russian cities, including in Yekaterinburg, a major city in the Ural Mountains, where protesters chanted “No to war!” in front of a Lenin monument.

Other photos show protesters defying a lockdown in Moscow’s Pushkin Square, and a video appears to show police arresting a protester for holding up a “No to war in Ukraine” sign.   

Video also appears to show a large group of protesters in Novosibirsk — thousands of miles east of Moscow — chanting “No to war!” 

As Russia’s economy flagged amidst a pandemic surge last year, opposition groups in the country staged large, widespread anti-Kremlin protests, prompting Putin to respond as he has in the past by cracking down and seeking to swiftly quash domestic challenges to his authority. 

Read Next: Russia Attacks Ukraine, Targets Key Military Sites as Ground Forces Move In

Ethan E. Rocke
Ethan E. Rocke

Ethan E. Rocke is a contributor and former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine, a New York Times bestselling author, and award-winning photographer and filmmaker. He served as an infantryman with the 101st Airborne Division, deploying once to Kosovo for peacekeeping operations. He then joined the US Marine Corps, serving in Okinawa and the Asia-Pacific region with III Marine Expeditionary Force and at the Marine Corps Motion Picture and Television Liaison Office in Los Angeles, where he served as a consultant on dozens of television shows and documentaries and several feature films. His work has been published in Maxim Magazine, American Legion Magazine, and many others. He is co-author of The Last Punisher: A SEAL Team THREE Sniper’s True Account of the Battle of Ramadi.

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