The detention of hundreds of anti-war protesters over the weekend is another manifestation of the increasing crackdown on the freedom of expression and assembly in Russia, Amnesty International said.
Today a Moscow court also ordered the detention of two protesters for five days on administrative charges.
“The government’s crackdown of the anti-war protesters is highly alarming. In a number of cities people have been targeted for taking part in demonstrations. This is state-sanctioned harassment and intimidation,” said Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International’s Moscow Office.
“The Russian authorities are obliged to respect the rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. They must immediately and unconditionally release the two imprisoned protesters whom Amnesty International considers to be prisoners of conscience.”
Hundreds of demonstrators protesting against Russian military intervention in Ukraine were detained in front of the Ministry of Defence and on Manezhnaya square. Dozens were kept at police stations overnight.
It is also reported that several dozen people were detained in St. Petersburg.
“The current developments in the relationship between Russia and the Ukraine should not be a pretext for any impediment of freedom of expression and assembly, nor for the violation of any other human rights,” said Sergei Nikitin.