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Scores of Nationalists Detained at Moscow National Unity Day Protests

Police detained at least 50 people. Sergei Bobylev / TASS

Police in Moscow detained at least 60 nationalists who attempted to stage street rallies known as the “Russian March,” the police-monitoring website OVD Info reported.

Unlike previous years, the Moscow authorities did not grant permission for the nationalists to hold their traditional march in the southeast of the city because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to OVD Info, police detained at least 50 people, including 13 minors, outside the Tsvetnoi Bulvar metro station. Videos showed uniformed officers strong-arming young men, some of whom claimed to be bystanders, into police vans.

Authorities also reportedly apprehended people who brought food to the detainees and a young woman who hung a portrait of a Russian neo-nazi, who was found dead in his jail cell in September, on the police headquarters. 

A total of five people were kept at police stations overnight, OVD Info reported.

Elsewhere in the country, around 100 activists held a Russian March in the Siberian city of Barnaul. Some protesters voiced support for anti-Kremlin protests in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk and criticized President Vladimir Putin for being “authoritarian,” the U.S.-funded RFE/RL news website reported.

Nationalists have over the past decade staged Russian Marches every Nov. 4, a national holiday known as National Unity Day.

Established in 2005 to replace former President Boris Yeltsin’s Day of Accord and Reconciliation, National Unity Day is the country’s youngest national holiday. It commemorates Russia’s defeat of Polish invaders in 1612, and also aims to promote patriotism and tolerance between ethnic and religious groups in Russia.

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