Thousands of people have been detained after anti-war protests in Russia.
People defied strict Kremlin control and took to the streets of 53 Russian cities including Moscow and St Petersburg chanting “no to war!” and “shame on you!”, according to videos posted on social media by opposition activists and bloggers.
Dozens of protesters in the city of Yekaterinburg east of the Urals mountains were shown being detained.
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One protester there was seen being beaten on the ground by police in riot gear. A mural in the city showing President Vladimir Putin was defaced.
Maria Kuznetsova, of the independent protest monitoring group OVD-Info said: “The screws are being fully tightened – essentially we are witnessing military censorship.
“We are seeing rather big protests today, even in Siberian cities where we only rarely saw such numbers of arrests.”
Russia’s interior ministry said 1,700 people had been detained in Moscow, 750 in St Petersburg and 1,061 in other cities.
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Russian authorities also continued to block independent news outlets in an effort to tighten control over what information the domestic audience sees about the invasion of Ukraine.
Others decided to halt their operations in Russia because of new repressive laws or refused to cover the invasion at all because of the pressure
Last week the BBC said it was suspending the work of its journalists in the country.
The last Russian protests with a similar number of arrests were in January 2021, when thousands demanded the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny after he was arrested on returning from Germany where he had been recovering from a nerve agent poisoning.
Some Russian state-controlled media carried short reports about Sunday’s protests but they did not feature high in news
Russia’s RIA news agency said Manezhnaya Square in Moscow, adjoining the Kremlin, had been “liberated” by police, who had arrested some participants of an unsanctioned protest against the military operation in Ukraine.