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15 Detained on Red Square for Protesting Registration Law

Editor's note: The video contains profanity in Russian. 18+

Police have detained 15 activists for lighting flares on Red Square and unfolding a banner reading, "[Expletive] your registration!"

The unauthorized rally was apparently held to protest the tightening of rules on mandatory residential registration sought by legislation approved by the State Duma in its first reading in February.

The 15 protesters were quickly detained late Monday and taken to separate police stations, where eight people remained in detention as of Tuesday afternoon, RBC Daily reported.

YouTube video of the protest shows the warmly clad activists unfurling a long banner in front of Lenin's tomb and then lighting flares. Police and plainclothes officers quickly surrounded them, pulling and carrying them to police vehicles. One officer is seen grabbing a protester's ears.

Three protesters remained in police custody at the Kitai-Gorod police station and five at the Yakimanka station, all of whom refuse to give police their names, according to OVD-Info, a non-governmental group that monitors police detentions.

Two others, identified by as Vera Lavreshina and Irina Kalmykova, declared a hunger strike at the Zamoskvorechye station.

The other protesters were released Monday night without being charged, while two underage protesters were charged with disobeying police and later released to their parents.

The misdemeanor charge of disobeying a police officer carries a maximum punishment of 15 days in jail.

It is not clear whether the protesters are members of a specific activist group.

Legislation largely reinstating the Soviet practice of mandatory residential registration and toughening the punishment for failing to comply was submitted to the State Duma by President Vladimir Putin in December and approved in February.

The bill calls for a punishment of up to three years in prison for anyone possessing fictitious registration.

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