Demonstrations against the war in Russia end today with more than 4,300 detainees | International

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More than 4,300 citizens have been arrested in Russia this Sunday in demonstrations against the invasion of Ukraine, according to data from OVD-INFO, a portal created by journalists to compile the number of arrests in the protests. The marches have been promoted by the main opposition leader to the Government of Vladimir Putin, Alexei Navalni, who has been imprisoned since last year. Navalni has called for “ignoring the prohibitions” and taking to the streets to demand an end to the war.

The number of detainees offered by the Russian authorities is somewhat lower than that given by OVD-INFO. According to official data provided by the Tass and Interfax agencies, around 2,500 people have come out to protest on Sunday in Moscow and about 1,500 in Saint Petersburg. Some 1,700 protesters have been arrested in Moscow and 750 in St. Petersburg, according to information from the Ministry of the Interior. According to government data, another 1,200 people have demonstrated in other parts of Russia and among them there have been 1,061 detainees.

With this new wave of repression, there are already more than 10,000 citizens arrested in Russia for protesting against the war since the invasion began. At a protest last Wednesday in St. Petersburg, a survivor of Nazism, the 78-year-old painter and activist Elena Osipova, was arrested. She carried two signs, one for peace and one for the destruction of all nuclear weapons on the planet. Upon being detained, Ella Osipova refused to follow riot police and was forced to walk to a van that dropped her off at her home, the Interior Ministry told a local newspaper. The activist has already faced sanctioning procedures on other occasions for denouncing the repression and the war.

Russian authorities have reiterated in recent days that citizens who go out to demonstrate against government policies could face jail time. On Thursday, February 24, when the war began, they were quick to warn that the law “provides severe punishment for organizing mass disturbances.” Laws on demonstrations have been tightened so much that even a single person protest now requires official authorization.

This week the Chambers have approved a bill to punish the dissemination of “disinformation” with sentences of up to 15 years in prison. The threat extends to any media that does not follow the guidelines of the Russian Government, rules that, for example, impose that there is no talk of war in Ukraine but of “special operation”.

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International media such as the BBC, CNN, TVE or the EFE Agency have suspended their activity in Russia due to the resurgence of repression in the field of freedom of expression. Independent Russian media such as Dozhd television or Moscow’s historic Radio Ekho have disappeared. In addition, the Government has interfered with access to Facebook and Twitter.

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