Russia: hundreds arrested in anti-war protests

Moscow police on March 2 arrested hundreds protesting against military intervention in Ukraine, a rights group said, after President Vladimir Putin won approval from senators to send troops into the neighboring country. Ovdinfo, a rights group that tracks arrests at demonstrations, said 352 were detained at two anti-war protests in central Moscow. Police gave a much lower figure of 50 people detained for “attempts to violate public order,” according to Interfax news agency. Anti-war protesters gathered near the defence ministry in central Moscow, and at Manezhnaya square near the Kremlin. Demonstrators held up peace signs and posters saying “No to war,” while some also held Ukrainian flags and ribbons in the national colors of yellow and light blue.

Another rally in Moscow, in support of intervention, was held on the city’s Boulevard Ring. Police estimated that 27,000 attended, with reporters from the Associated Press and Reuters posting on their Twitter accounts that many attendees were state employees. No detentions were reported. (Moscow Times, March 3; AFP, March 2 )

A statement from the Confederation of Revolutionary Anarcho-Syndicalists (KRAS), Russian section of the International Workers Association, also signed by anarchist groups in Ukraine, Moldova, and Lithuania, read: “We will not succumb to nationalist intoxication. To hell with their state and ‘nations’, their flags and offices! This is not our war, and we should not go on it, paying with our blood their palaces, bank accounts and the pleasure to sit in soft chairs of authorities. And if the bosses in Moscow, Kiev, Lviv, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Simferopol start this war, our duty is to resist it by all available means!” (KPAC, March 2)