September 24, 2022

More than 1,300 people were detained across Russia as demonstrators protested President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial mobilization of military reservists, an independent monitoring group said on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 protesters were detained in the country’s two most populous cities – Moscow and St Petersburg – but the group, OVD-Info, said people in a total of 38 cities were detained.

Anti-protest laws in Russia prohibit unauthorized demonstrations. The Moscow Prosecutor’s Office warned that participation in one could lead to a sentence of 15 years in prison, reports the Associated Press.

Image: Protest in Moscow
Police officers detained a man after calling for a protest against partial mobilization in Moscow, September 21, 2022.Aleksandar Nemenov / AFP – Getty Images

In a statement cited by Russian news agencies, an Interior Ministry official said that in “numerous regions there were attempts to carry out unauthorized actions that gathered an extremely small number of participants.”

Video footage of a protest in front of a church in Saint Petersburg police officers in helmets and tactical gear are shown hitting protesters with batons. U another video in front of the churchthe authorities could be seen taking people from the group one by one.

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In Moscow, video footage showed security forces holding someone on the ground as a crowd chanted: “Let the person go.”

“I’m not afraid of anything,” said one protester in Moscow who declined to identify herself he told the AP. “The most valuable thing they can take from us is the life of our children. I will not give them my child’s life.”

Protesters took to the streets after Putin announced the mobilization amid persistent battlefield setbacks from Ukraine and a successful counterattack by the country’s armed forces.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that initially 300,000 reservists with relevant combat and service experience would be called up.

Bryan Gallion, Maya Brown and Rania Soetirto contributed.

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