The Russian police on Saturday briefly detained at least 20 journalists at a rally organized under the Kremlin walls by the wives of soldiers fighting in Ukraine, who demand the return of their husbands from the front, according to AFP, taken by Agerpres.
Russian military wives protest in Moscow PHOTO Capture Twitter/Nexta
An AFP cameraman who was arrested during the protest said that about 20-25 journalists, all men, arrived with him in a police van and were taken to a station for identity checks.
About three hours later, all the journalists were released after receiving a warning from the Russian Interior Ministry, according to the AFP cameraman.
Among those arrested were several employees of foreign media, including the American news agency AP, the Dutch media NOS, the German magazine Der Spiegel and a French independent reporter.
Before the arrests, between 40 and 50 spouses of mobilized soldiers laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Kremlin walls, near Red Square.
According to the independent publication Sota Vision, several arrests of people demonstrating against military mobilization also took place in front of Vladimir Putin’s electoral campaign headquarters for the presidential elections in Moscow.
On Telegram, during Saturday morning, the Prosecutor’s Office in Moscow warned about a possible criminal prosecution in case of participation in “unauthorized demonstrations”.
For several weeks, the wives of soldiers mobilized to fight in Ukraine have been meeting regularly in protest.
The anger of the relatives of the reservists mobilized on the orders of Vladimir Putin in September 2022 is a sensitive subject for the authorities, who have so far refrained from cracking down on this emerging revolt movement.
Several social media groups for relatives of mobilized soldiers have appeared in recent months. One of the most active, called ‘Put Domoi’ (‘The Road Home’), calls for demonstrations every Saturday.
In the past, in other demonstrations of this type in Moscow, the police did not intervene, although any beginnings of dissent are usually severely repressed in Russia.
The activism of the mobilizing women has been largely ignored by Russian state media as the Kremlin wants to project an image of unity around Putin ahead of his inevitable re-election in March’s presidential election.
According to Vladimir Putin, 244,000 mobilized soldiers are currently fighting in Ukraine, out of a total force of 617,000.