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Thousands Detained at Anti-War Protests in Russia

A person is detained during an anti-war protest, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Yekaterinburg, Russia, March 6, 2022.

Thousands of people have been detained at protests in dozens of cities across Russia against President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, the Russian Interior Ministry and an independent protest monitor said on Sunday.

The monitor OVD-Info said 3,895 people were detained during protests in 53 cities. It added that police departments may have more detainees than appear on their published lists.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Irina Volk said 1,700 people were detained in Moscow and 750 were detained in St. Petersburg. The people arrested in Moscow were among around 2,500 people who took part in an “unauthorized rally,” Volk said, according to TASS.

The 750 arrested in St. Petersburg were among 1,500 who took part.

In other regions 1,200 people took part in rallies, and as many as 1,061 people were detained, she said.

Thousands of protesters chanted "No to war!" and "Shame on you!" in Moscow and St. Petersburg, according to videos posted on social media by opposition activists.

Demonstrations also took place outside Russia, including in India and Kazakhstan after jailed Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny called for worldwide protests against the war.

In Kazakhstan’s biggest city, Almaty, some protesters warned that "Kazakhstan will be next if the war is not stopped now."

About 100 people attended a demonstration in Vladivostok and some 15 of them were arrested, a correspondent for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported. Some of the protesters were holding placards and were chanting anti-war slogans.

RFE/RL could not independently verify the information.

Russian authorities warned on March 5 that they would prevent any attempt to hold unsanctioned demonstrations.

The demonstration in Almaty on March 6 drew hundreds of protesters, who waived Ukrainian flags and chanted slogans against Putin and the war in Ukraine.

Daulet Abylkasymov, a protest organizer told the rally that their demonstration “is not against the Russian people but is against Putin.”

Others warned that “what’s happening in Ukraine today, may happen in Kazakhstan next.”

Some rally participants urged Kazakhstan to leave two Russian-led regional bodies -- the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

Information from Reuters was used in this report.