Saturday, April 20, 2024

Hundreds arrested as Russian draft protests continue

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Hundreds of people have been arrested by authorities as protests against Russia’s new “partial mobilisation” continue across the country, an independent rights group has said.

OVD-Info said 724 people were detained across 32 different cities on Saturday.

Widespread demonstrations have broken out since President Vladimir Putin announced plans to draft 300,000 men to fight in Ukraine.

Unsanctioned rallies are banned under Russian law.

But Mr Putin’s move to draft civilians into the military has sparked large scale protests in urban areas, with more than 1,000 people being detained at demonstrations earlier this week.

In Moscow, news agency AFP reported witnessing one demonstrator shouting “we are not cannon fodder” as she was arrested by officers.

And in St Petersburg, Russia’s second city, one man told reporters: “I don’t want to go to war for Putin.”

Seventy-year-old Natalya Dubova told AFP that she opposed the war and confessed she was “afraid for young people” being ordered to the front.

Some of those arrested on Saturday reported being handed draft papers and ordered to report to recruiting centres while being held by security officials. The Kremlin defended the practice earlier this week, saying “it isn’t against the law”.

Moscow has also approved harsh new punishments for those accused of dereliction of duty once drafted. (BBC)

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