Dozens of activists, journalists and anti-war protesters have been detained across Russia as the country celebrated May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, an independent watchdog said Sunday.
Police apprehended seven people in Moscow and St. Petersburg each, six people in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and six others the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, according to the independent police-monitoring website OVD-Info.
In St. Petersburg, authorities detained independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper journalists Yelena Lukyanova and Andrei Dushutin for driving Yelena Osipova, a Leningrad blockade survivor and veteran protester, to an anti-war picket.
Lukyanova was charged with violating coronavirus restrictions, a misdemeanor offense. Both were released after more than three hours at the police station, Novaya Gazeta’s European edition said on social media.
Another detained activist in St. Petersburg had staged a performance handcuffing herself to a railing in front of a television set with an image of pro-Kremlin pundit Vladimir Solovyov.
At least two picketers in Moscow and the republic of Udmurtia’s administrative center of Izhevsk were detained while holding a poster with the traditional May Day slogan “Peace, Labor, May.”
More than 15,000 anti-war protesters have been detained across Russia since President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
At least 100 people have seen been charged with criminal offenses, 32 of them for allegedly spreading “fake news” about the Russian military’s actions abroad and 26 for vandalism.